Ramallah: Armed with an iron stick and an Israeli flag, an Israeli ultraorthodox colonist raised an Israeli flag in the centre of the hall entrance of the Dome of the Rock in Al Haram Al Sharif, the compound that houses Al Aqsa Mosque.

The holy mosque’s civil guards, Al Murabiteen volunteers and worshipping Palestinians clashed with the colonists involved in the attack and seized the flag before Israeli Special Forces intervened, wounding two of the mosque’s guards and arresting another eight guards.

According to Samer Al Rifaei, a guard in Al Aqsa Mosque and an eyewitness, the flag was erected by an Israeli colonist of French origin who entered the mosque as a tourist.

“Once he reached the Dome of the Rock, he produced an Israeli flag and installed it at a wall of the holy shrine in a move that provoked the Muslim sentiments,” he told Gulf News. “The boldness this colonist showed in the centre of the holy shrine before the eyes of the Palestinians praying there, and the intervention of the Israeli Special Forces, clearly shows that the entire drama was planned and coordinated to make a statement about Israeli undisputed sovereignty over the entire occupied East Jerusalem area including Al Aqsa Mosque.”

In the past Al Rifaei said, Israeli colonists have repeatedly tried to raise the Israeli flag in different parts of the holy shrine, but all their attempts had been foiled.

“Israeli’s around the clock, serious, and unstoppable attempts to put Al Aqsa Mosque under Israeli full control will not come to an end. This is a fact which we should confront for sure,” he said. “Had the colonists not been provided with protection by the Israeli police and military forces, they would never have dared to raid the holy shrine.”

Al Rifaei held the Israeli security forces fully accountable for the unprecedented escalation in conflicts over Al Aqsa Mosque. “Calm can easily be restored in the holy shrine by suspending the daily provocative raids of the Israeli colonists who are carefully chosen to be the worst possible and most brutal people, and who were raised in the kibbutz,” he said. He added that those colonists bring into the holy shrine huge quantities of alcohol which they consume inside the mosque and in front of praying Muslims.

According to Israeli procedures, Al Rifaei explained, colonists and tourists are usually searched by the Israeli security at the checkpoint near Al Buraq Wall to enter the mosque via Al Magarebah (Moroccan) Gate. “The Israeli security forces know what those who enter the mosque carry and they know of their real plans inside the holy shrine, but those forces do not act to protect Muslim sentiments inside the mosque but give the colonists the necessary freedom to act on their bullying natures.”