Four Palestinian women have been arrested after being attacked at the Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning, while settlers stormed the mosque, according to local news agency Ma’an.
The Jerusalem Department of Islamic Religious Endowments, Awqaf, in Jerusalem said in a statement, “Around 130 Jewish settlers have entered the compound today,” through Mughrabi Gate to mark the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
Right-wing Israeli groups have called for large-scale incursions into the holy site during the Hanukkah festival, an eight-day Jewish holiday that marks the “rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem”.
Under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces, the groups of settlers lit the menorah (a Hanukkah candle) at the Mughrabi Gate.
Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli soldiers attacked and detained Fatima Khader, Asma Shiyoukhi, Elham Abu Sobeih and Um Anan Ghorab, from the Bab Al-Rahma area in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, the official media agency of the Palestinian Government, worshippers, students and Al-Aqsa Mosque guards intervened to defend the Muslim holy site by chanting “Allah Akbar” and hampered the settlers’ access to some areas of the site.
— Days of Palestine (@DaysofPalestine) December 23, 2019
Palestinian worshippers reopened Al-Rahma Gate earlier this year after Israeli authorities closed it 15 years ago. Israeli settlers and officials pass through Al-Rahma Gate almost every day when they raid Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Since 2003, the Israeli occupation police have been allowing and protecting Israeli settlers who raid Al-Aqsa Mosque on a daily basis. They enter the site through the Mughrabi Gate.
Most recently, 407 Israeli settlers raided the Islamic holy site last week, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 war. It later annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital in a move never recognised by the international community.