Far-Right Israeli Cabinet Minister Visits Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Raising Tensions 

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
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Far-Right Israeli Cabinet Minister Visits Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Raising Tensions 

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)

Israel's far right national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday, declaring the contested holy site belongs “only to the state of Israel.”

Ben-Gvir said Wednesday's visit was a response to a move by three European countries to unilaterally recognize an independent Palestinian state.

“We will not even allow a statement about a Palestinian state,” he said.

The hilltop compound is revered by Jews and Muslims, and the conflicting claims have led to numerous rounds of violence in the past.

Israel allows Jews to visit the compound, but not to pray there. But the visit is likely to be seen around the world as a provocation.

Norway, Ireland and Spain said Wednesday they are recognizing a Palestinian state in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel immediately ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland.

The formal recognition will be made on May 28. The development is a step toward a long-held Palestinian aspiration that came against the backdrop of international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s offensive there.



US Military Says it Destroyed Three Houthi Vessels in Red Sea

A Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond targeting a projectile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo)
A Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond targeting a projectile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo)
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US Military Says it Destroyed Three Houthi Vessels in Red Sea

A Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond targeting a projectile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo)
A Sea Viper missile is launched from HMS Diamond targeting a projectile fired by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo)

US forces destroyed three Iranian-backed Houthi uncrewed surface vessels in the Red Sea in the past 24 hours, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Saturday.
Separately, the Houthis launched three anti-ship ballistic missiles into the Gulf of Aden but there were no injuries or significant damage reported by US, coalition, or merchant vessels, CENTCOM added.
The US military's Central Command also dismissed as "categorically false" recent claims about a successful attack by Houthi forces on the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, reported Reuters.