‘Israeli troops have been deployed outside the structure since late Friday evening and designated the area for the exclusive use of Jewish settlers until Monday,’ Head of the Endowment and Religious Affairs Department in al-Khalil (Hebron), Zeid al-Ja’bari, said on Saturday.
The Ibrahimi Mosque compound also known as the Sanctuary of Abraham is Judaism’s second-holiest site after the Temple Mount. It is also a place of veneration for Christians. The 1,000-year-old Ibrahimi Mosque is the second holiest Islamic site in the Palestinian territory after al-Aqsa Mosque in al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The mosque was divided into Muslim and Jewish sections by the Israeli government’s Shamgar Committee after a 1994 massacre that killed 29 Muslim worshippers and left 150 others wounded.
Since then, Israeli authorities have violated Muslim rights in the Ibrahimi Mosque under the pretext of Jewish holidays and restricted Muslims from praying in the mosque. The Israeli officials have also prevented the call to prayer for the evening and night worship times.
Radical Jewish settlers have at times desecrated this holy Mosque and ridiculed Muslims while praying there.
Extremist settlers are said to be trying to bar Muslims from entering the Ibrahimi Mosque and are attempting to transform it into a synagogue.