Dozens of Israeli settlers Wednesday forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim, according to a Palestinian official.
"More than 150 settlers, protected by Israeli police, entered the compound through the Al-Mugharbeh Gate," Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Jordan-run religious endowments agency, told Anadolu Agency.
"They made a quick tour of the compound before leaving again through the Al-Silisila Gate," al-Dibs said.
He went to note that a number of Jewish settlers had tried to perform “Talmudic rituals” near the Al-Qibali and Dome of the Rock mosques.
They were ultimately prevented from doing so, however, by the mosque’s Palestinian guards, al-Dibs said.
Earlier this week, Jewish extremist groups called on supporters to converge on Al-Aqsa on Wednesday and Thursday to mark the day-long Jewish holiday of Purim.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem -- in which the Al-Aqsa is located -- during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
In a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city -- claiming it as its “unified and eternal” capital -- in 1980.
Jerusalem has remained in the media spotlight since last December, when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital, drawing widespread condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world.