Jewish settler groups stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday morning, under the protection of the Israeli security forces which prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshippers from entering the mosque to protect it from the extremists.
Sources in occupied Jerusalem said that the city is tense after the incursion. It was confirmed that worshippers inside Al-Aqsa confronted the settlers, who entered the Noble Sanctuary from the historic Moroccans' Gate.
A statement from Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, which is based inside Israel (known by Palestinians as the territories occupied in 1948), condemned the assault on Islam's third holiest site. "Following the incursion by extremist Jews and their calls for more raids against the mosque, the Israeli occupation's police and army have tightened their blockade of Al-Aqsa." Large numbers of worshippers have been stopped from entering the mosque, the Foundation said. Women have been abused and identity cards have been confiscated.
Al-Aqsa Foundation's statement said that 65 Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in three groups, including a group from the notorious Kiryat Arba illegal settlement near Hebron. Israeli forces have surrounded the mosque and closed its doors. The men and women inside have responded with cries of "Allahu Akbar – God is Great".
The Israeli occupation forces arrested three Palestinian citizens of the Zionist state as well as one of the mosque guards. Riad Aghbarieh from Umm Al-Fahm, Tamer Shala'ta from Sakhnin, Ibrahim Khalil from Baana Nujeidat and guard Samer Qwaider were detained by Israeli officers. A tense atmosphere now prevails in Al-Aqsa.
This latest in a long line of Jewish violations of the sanctity of Muslim and Christian holy places in occupied Palestine was planned by extremist Jews from Kiryat Arba. Their call for a collective break-in of Al-Aqsa was made under the heading, "An ascent of the Temple Mount to cleanse it of Muslims and perform Talmudic rituals". Once their nefarious plans were known, Palestinian religious and national leaders in Jerusalem called for a swift and large presence of Muslims in the mosque to deter the illegal settlers.