Israeli far-right security minister enters Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa complex
Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir on Sunday entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
Ben-Gvir entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque's Haram al-Sharif area early in the morning with special guards and under the protection of the Israeli forces.
In his video message from the courtyard of Al-Aqsa, he claimed Israel's ownership of the complex and said threats from Hamas make no sense. "We own Jerusalem and all the land of Israel."
This was the second time he entered the complex since taking office as national security minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last December.
Ben-Gvir previously entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jan. 3, days after he took office, and with this action, he became the first Israeli minister on duty to enter the mosque in five years.
He holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third-holiest site. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
Last November, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that "the whole world is worried" about Ben-Gvir’s far-right views.