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Scores of illegal Israeli settlers storm Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque

May 26, 2024 at 2:32 pm

Activist Jewish settlers storm into Al-Aqsa Mosque in Eastern Jerusalem on the second day of the Jewish Passover holiday under the protection of Israeli police officers in Jerusalem on April 24, 2024 [Mohammad Hamad – Anadolu Agency]

Scores of illegal Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, according to Palestinian media, Anadolu Agency reports.

The state news agency Wafa said at least 115 illegal settlers had stormed the site from its Al-Mugharbah Gate area, west of the mosque.

Many Palestinian worshippers were barred entry into the site by Israeli police, Wafa said.

The settler intrusion came as Israeli police continued to lock down the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

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 recognized by the international community.

Tensions have been high across the West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip after a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 518 Palestinians have since been killed and nearly 5,000 others injured by Israeli army fire in the occupied territory, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel is accused of “genocide” at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than a million displaced Palestinians had sought refuge.

READ: Illegal Israeli settlers attack Palestinian village in northern West Bank