World, Middle East

Scores of settlers storm Al-Aqsa for Jewish holiday

Over 185 settlers force their way into Al-Aqsa compound to mark Jewish Shavuot holiday

31.05.2017
Scores of settlers storm Al-Aqsa for Jewish holiday FILE PHOTO

JERUSALEM

Scores of Jewish settlers on Wednesday forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark the Jewish Shavuot holiday, according to a Palestinian official.

"More than 185 settlers stormed the compound through the Al-Mugharbeh Gate under the protection of Israeli forces," Al-Aqsa Mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani told Anadolu Agency.

He said the settlers had tried to perform Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Qibali mosques.

"They were prevented from doing so by the mosque guards," he said.

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 during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it – in addition to West Jerusalem – as the unified capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

In 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

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