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    HomeWorldFar-right Israeli Minister Ben Gvir Visits Al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem

    Far-right Israeli Minister Ben Gvir Visits Al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem

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    Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Sunday. This move has caused controversy as tensions are high in annexed east Jerusalem. Three days prior, Ben-Gvir and tens of thousands of Jewish nationalists marched through the Old City. Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, denounced Ben-Gvir’s visit to the site in January and again slammed his action on Sunday.

    Israeli police confirmed Ben-Gvir’s visit in a statement, adding that it passed without incident. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the site, but not pray there. Jordan decried Ben-Gvir’s actions as a “provocative step” and a “dangerous and unacceptable escalation”. Tours of the site by Jewish nationalists have long been criticized by Palestinians and Arab nations.

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    The timing of Sunday’s visit also holds significance, coming days after nationalists marched through the Old City to celebrate east Jerusalem’s capture by Israeli forces in the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians were forced to close their businesses and were removed from the march route to make way for the Israeli participants. Thursday’s event was marred by incidents of violence against Palestinians and journalists, while the United States condemned “the hateful chants such as ‘Death to Arabs'” during the rally.

    Later on Sunday, Israel’s top politicians are set to hold a rare cabinet meeting within the Old City. This comes days into a May 13 truce reached between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza, ending five days of cross-border fighting. The violence killed 33 people in Gaza and two in Israel, a citizen and a Gazan laborer.

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