In answer to calls by religious leaders, around 40 Israeli settlers entered the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa on Monday protected by a large number of Israeli security forces. Three Palestinians were arrested as they protested against the incursion.
In a media statement, the coordinator of Al-Aqsa Foundation for Religious Endowments and Islamic Heritage, Mahmoud Abul-Ata, said that the Israeli occupation forces entered Al-Aqsa in order to secure safe exit for the illegal settlers. Palestinian worshippers tried to prevent the settlers from wandering around the Noble Sanctuary, but they were corralled at the southern end of the courtyards by police, who used electrified batons to control them.
Abul-Ata pointed out that the Israel occupation authorities have been banning Palestinian students under the age of 45 from entering the mosque for lessons in Islamic Shari'ah for the second day running. He noted that there are always many Israeli police officers around the mosque precinct to control the number of Palestinians allowed to enter.
Religious settlers' leaders called recently for their followers to break into Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jewish festivals. They claim that such visits "affirm the Jewish identity" of the Holy Site.