Scores of Israelis today forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian agency and reported by Anadolu Agency.
In a statement, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf said 150 settlers guarded by Israeli police stormed the compound. It said more settlers are expected to “tour the site” later in the day.
Israeli settler groups have called for large-scale incursions into the complex as part of celebrations of the week-long Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which began on Sunday.Usually, Israeli settlers storm the Al-Aqsa complex every day in the morning and afternoon through its Mughrabi Gate, southwest of the Mosque, which is controlled by occupation authorities.
Israeli police began allowing the settler incursions in 2003, despite repeated condemnation from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.
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, a move never recognised by the international community.