CAIRO – Triggering Muslims’ outrage, an Israeli soldier has kicked and stepped on the noble Qur’an in Al-Aqsa mosque after assaulting several young Palestinian girls who were reciting the Muslim holy book in the courtyards of Islam’s third holiest shrine.
"One of the Israeli officers located inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque attacked two students from a girls' school near Buraq Mosque next to the Mughrabi Gate," Mahmoud Abu Atta, the media department chief at Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, told Al-Ahram newspaper.
The incident occurred early on Sunday when an Israeli soldier attacked a group of Palestinian girls who were reciting Qur’an in a circle-reading session.
One of the Palestinian girls said they were sitting near Al-Magharbeh gate-- the closest to Jewish settlers and the most used by Israeli authorities to lead in settlers and touring groups-- when an Israeli police officer came and asked them to move away from the area.
She added that they had moved away farther from the gate, but after they’ve started reading out loud the officer attacked the group after kicking the holy Qu’ran to ground.
“He threw the noble Qur’an to the ground and stepped on it,” the crying young girl was quoted as saying by the Foundation
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).
Jews claim that their alleged Temple of Solomon exists underneath the Muslim holy place and want to destroy it to build their temple.
Al-Aqsa complex is controlled by the Islamic authority known as the Waqf, which allows Jews’ entry to the site only through one portal, the Mughrabi Gate, where Israeli police monitor visitors.
Condemning the attack, Al-Aqsa foundation demanded a quick response to defend Al-Aqsa mosque against repeated Israeli aggressions.
“There is no place for occupation and its soldiers in Al-Aqsa mosque and Al-Quds,” it added in its statement.
The Arab League has also strongly condemned the incident.
Assistant Secretary-General of Arab League Ambassador Mohamed Sobeih told reporters that what happened is not directed to the people of Jerusalem or the Palestinian people alone, but a message to the Arab and Islamic nations as well.
He called for a unified and firm stance of the Arab and Islamic nation against the attacks and the situation in Jerusalem.
Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam's third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel occupied the holy city in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements.
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