Scores of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex in Jerusalem
Settler groups called for incursions into flashpoint complex to celebrate Jewish Hanukkah festival
Scores of Israeli settlers on Wednesday forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian 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 Al-Mughrabi Gate, southwest of the mosque.
Israeli police began allowing the settler incursions in 2003, despite repeated condemnations 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 recognized by the international community.
*Writing by Bassel BarakatAnadolu 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.