Israeli Settlers Bring Animals into Al-Aqsa Mosque for Passover Sacrifice

Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, perform Talmudic rituals, amid heightened tensions in Jerusalem. Extremist Jewish groups offer rewards for sacrifices at the holy site, raising fears of religious strife.

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Rizwan Shah
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Israeli Settlers Bring Animals into Al-Aqsa Mosque for Passover Sacrifice

Israeli Settlers Bring Animals into Al-Aqsa Mosque for Passover Sacrifice

On April 22, 2024, scores of Israeli settlers broke into the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem under heavy police protection. Around 172 settlers raided the holy mosque and performed Talmudic rituals in its courtyards. The settlers brought animals, including a red baby goat, into the mosque to slaughter as a Passover sacrifice.

The incident occurred amid heightened tensions in occupied Jerusalem ahead of the Jewish Passover holiday. The so-called Temple groups had called on their followers to carry out massive incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque at midnight before Passover to offer a "sacrifice". Israeli forces tightened their military deployments and restrictions at the gates leading to the Old City and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Why this matters: The actions by the Israeli settlers are part of ongoing efforts to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, and perform Jewish religious rituals inside. These moves are seen as provocations aimed at inciting Muslim anger and asserting Israeli control over the holy site, which has been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Since October 7th, Israeli forces have killed 59 Palestinians from Jerusalem, injured 172 others, and arrested 1,325 Palestinians, with 155 sentenced to actual imprisonment. The occupation authorities have also issued 85 house arrest decisions, 68 deportation decisions from Jerusalem, and demolished 133 homes, while 18,301 settlers have stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Extremist Jewish groups have been making incitements and offering financial rewards for settlers to carry out sacrifices at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In 2022, one opposition group announced rewards of up to 50,000 shekels (around $13,000) for anyone who could participate in Jewish sacrificial offerings at the mosque. In 2023, the "Return to Mount Temple" group doubled the rewards.

Palestinian officials have warned that the actions by the Israeli settlers could trigger religious strife in the region and have dangerous consequences. The Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, announced that Eid al-Adha prayers at the mosque will be held early at 7:30 am instead of 6:30 am after threats by occupation forces and settlers to storm the compound. "All mosques in Jerusalem will be closed and Eid prayers will take place in Al-Aqsa," Palestinian officials stated.

Key Takeaways

  • Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, performed Talmudic rituals, and sacrificed animals.
  • Heightened tensions in Jerusalem ahead of Passover, with calls for massive incursions into Al-Aqsa.
  • Settler actions seen as provocations to assert Israeli control over the holy site, a flashpoint.
  • Since October 2023, 59 Palestinians killed, 172 injured, and 1,325 arrested in Jerusalem.
  • Extremist Jewish groups offer rewards for settlers to carry out sacrifices at Al-Aqsa Mosque.