Israeli minister visits Temple Mount

22 October 2003
Israeli Internal Security Minister Tsahi Hanegbi on 22 October visited the Temple Mount, also known as Al-Haram al-Sharif, in the first visit by a senior Israeli official since the start of the intifada in September 2000, to check security measures before the holy month of Ramadan. The visit, which was unannounced to avoid any protests, was described by the Waqf - the Muslim authority that oversees the site - as an act of provocation. It was Ariel Sharon's visit to the holy site in 2000 during his campaign for Prime Minister that caused the violence that eventually erupted into the intifada.

In another act of defiance by Israel, Tel Aviv sent a number of jets into Lebanese airspace on 22 October. Witnesses said that jets broke the sound barrier over the northern town of Tripoli, and planes also circled Beirut before swooping over parts of the Bekaa valley. The UN has demanded that Israel stops violating Lebanon's airspace

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