An extremist Israeli Jewish settler Tuesday insulted Prophet Mohammad of Islam during a tour by Jewish hardliners in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound, an act deemed highly disrespectful, prohibited and provocative, according to local sources.
Earlier Monday, settlers assaulted a Palestinian bus driver identified as Mohammad Barakat from Jerusalem by spraying pepper gas at his face and body, causing him severe irritation in his eyes and skin.
This came only two days after dozens of Muslim worshipers were injured during clashes, which erupted after groups of Jewish hardliners broke into the Islamic holy site to mark Tisha B’Av holiday.
Clashes at the site on Sunday took place after Jewish settler groups, known as ‘Temple Mount’ organizations, made calls urging all Jewish settlers to storm the holy site to mark Tisha B’Av Day, a Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of temples according to the Jewish belief.
The organizations reportedly demanded that al-Aqsa Mosque compound be entirely closed to Muslims starting Saturday evening and all day Sunday. They also requested the holy site to be closed to Muslims during proposed Israeli tour hours from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. from Monday to Thursday next week.
Prior to this, Israeli police deployed heavily in and around al-Aqsa following tensions surrounding a video filmed last Thursday in which a Jewish woman leaving the Temple Mount compound after a visit was recorded insulting Prophet Mohammad.
In response to the Israeli escalation of violence at the holy site Sunday, the government said in a following statement that renewed assaults by Israeli settlers and police against al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem proves Israel’s intent to drag the entire region into a religious war.
It said that Israel’s ongoing attacks against al-Aqsa Mosque was part of Israel’s attempts to divert international attention away from its ongoing violations against the Palestinian people, its theft of land and construction of illegal settlements, and its blockade on Gaza.