Hamas warns of Israeli plan to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in escalation of hostilities
Unofficial provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist Israeli settlers have been growing, including offers of prize money to those who carry out offensive acts inside the holy site
By News Desk - April 12 2022

(Photo credit: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

A member of the Hamas political bureau, Zaher Jabarin, has warned of a possible Israeli plan to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem.

An official storming of Al-Aqsa by Israeli officers would cross a new threshold of provocations, given that the current provocations at the Islamic holy site are carried out unofficially by Jewish extremists who are not acting on duty as part of the Israeli police forces.

Speaking to Al Mayadeen on 12 April, the Hamas official stated the official storming of Al-Aqsa may take place towards the middle of Ramadan.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement, Commander Ziyad al-Nakhalah, warned on 10 April that the same conditions that saw tensions erupt into a full-scale war in May 2021 still exist, making a conflict not only possible, but likely.

He also referred to the escalation by extremist settlers to harm Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem during Ramadan, which has added to the tensions.

Palestinian resistance factions have been warning Israel to not allow settlers to storm Al-Aqsa or perform Talmudic rites on Passover.

Tensions are likely to rise if official Israeli forces join the unofficial settlers in provocations against Al-Aqsa.

The so-called Temple Mount movement (Chozrim LaHar) has recently been circulating a campaign to offer financial rewards to Jewish extremists if they can present evidence of themselves engaging in provocations. The more offensive the provocation, the higher the financial reward.

The group is offering three tiers of prizes. The lowest tier, third place, is to get arrested which is a prize of 400 ⁠shekels. The second place prize is to get arrested with a lamb or kid goat, with a reward of 800 ⁠shekels. The first place is for those who are successful in performing the Jewish ritual animal sacrifice, which will garner a prize of 10,000 ⁠shekels.

The statements by the Hamas official are corroborated by other reports which suggest extremist Israelis and rabbis are planning to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Passover, which falls between 17 and 23 April, and coincides with the 16th to 22nd days of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

“We are approaching a battle in the month of Ramadan, and we are strong with our faith, our mujahideen, and our belief that the occupation, despite its strength, remains weak in the face of the Palestinian will,” stated PIJ chief Al-Nakhalah.

Israel has forbidden Palestinian men between 12 and 40 would be banned from praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque throughout the month of Ramadan.

On 3 April, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made a controversial tour of occupied Jerusalem.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said Lapid’s speech, which was in favor of protecting Jewish settlers with increased security presence, was a denial of the fact that Jewish extremists attack Christians and Muslims alike, as well as violate both their sanctities.

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