Hundreds of Israeli settlers on Thursday forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem under heavy protection from the Israeli forces to mark a Jewish holiday.
In a statement, the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem said 252 Israeli settlers broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard through the Mughrabi Gate in the western wall of the mosque, expecting more settlers to storm the mosque courtyard in the afternoon.
Israeli groups earlier called on settlers to intensify their storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex to mark the Jewish Shavuot holiday on Thursday and Friday.
The department added that the Israeli police also restricted the entry of Palestinians since the dawn prayer.
Since 2003, Israel has been allowing settlers into the compound almost daily.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third-holiest site. Jews, for their part, call the area the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two ancient Jewish temples.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmarin Ankara