Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa to celebrate Sukkot
530 settlers forced their way into Al-Aqsa complex
Hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, according to a Palestinian agency.
In a statement, the Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which oversees the holy sites in Jerusalem, said 530 settlers entered the complex under police protection.
More settlers are expected to visit the site in the afternoon.
Israeli extremist groups have called on settlers to converge on the Al-Aqsa compound during the week-long Jewish holiday, which started on Monday.
Since the start of September, Israeli settlers marked a number of Jewish holidays, including the Rosh Hashanah -- the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.
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 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital -- a move never recognized by the international community.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.