Dozens of Jewish settlers today forced their way into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, shortly after the site was reopened, according to the mosque director, reports Anadolu Agency.
“Around 105 Jewish settlers have entered the compound since early morning under protection of Israeli police,” Omar Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the move “came to upset the worshippers” after the mosque was reopened for prayers.
Al-Aqsa Mosque was reopened to worshippers early Sunday after more than two months of closure due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Kiswani said Israeli forces also arrested three Palestinians – a youth and two girls – from inside the site.
No reason was provided for the arrests.
“These incursions and arrests will not alter the Arab and Islamic nature of Al-Aqsa mosque,” Kiswani said.
The Al-Aqsa complex was closed off to all worshippers late March as part of measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.