Hundreds of Jewish settlers forced their way into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound again on Sunday to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, according to a Palestinian source.
“Around 653 settlers backed by Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa compound since early morning,” the source with the Religious Endowments Authority, a Jordan-run agency responsible for overseeing the city’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, said.
The incursions have caused frictions between Muslim worshippers and Israeli forces near the flashpoint compound.
According to local residents, Israeli police assaulted worshippers performing prayers near one of the compound’s gates after being banned from entering the site.
Settlers are celebrating Sukkot, a week-long holiday, which will end Sunday.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital – a move never recognised by the international community.