Jewish Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque sanctuary in Jerusalem today and waved the Israeli flag around the Islamic site, in what was a major incursion.
According to Jordan's Department of Islamic Endowments, which has legal custodianship over the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, the settlers stormed through the Mughrabi Gate this morning protected by Israeli occupation forces. In footage captured during the incident, one of the settlers could be seen waving the Israeli flag, which has apparently not been done in previous incursions.
Whenever illegal settlers break into the mosque compound, Muslims are forbidden to pray there. Such incursions have been going on for weeks, but especially over the past few days when more than one thousand settlers have been involved. They are reported to have been marking a number of Jewish holidays since the beginning of September, such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and now the Sukkot.
The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, condemned the settlers' invasion of the holy site. "This criminal enemy [Israel] will not reap anything but loss and regret from its foolishness," said its Jerusalem spokesman Muhammad Hamadeh.
He warned Tel Aviv and the settlers that if they continue their "attempts to impose the temporal and spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque," then they will suffer the "flames of response and resistance from all of Palestine."
In July, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered occupation forces to provide protection and support to settlers who storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in an "orderly and safe" manner, giving official state backing to such incidents.