Scores of Israeli settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday, according to a Palestinian official.
At least "69 Jewish settlers stormed the holy compound through the Al-Mugharbah gate," Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordan-run organization responsible for overseeing the city's Islamic sites, said in a brief statement.
Tension has escalated in Jerusalem since last month when Israeli police briefly shut Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Rahma Gate on the eastern wall of Jerusalem’s Old City, triggering angry Palestinian protests.
Ever since, Israeli authorities have banned scores of Palestinians, including religious officials, from entering the flashpoint site.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews refer to the area as 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.
Writing By Mahmoud 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.