Occupied Jerusalem (In Palestine Today)- Scores of Israeli settlers have forced their way into the Al Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian agency.
In a statement, the Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem said on Monday that 96 settlers guarded by Israeli police broke into the flashpoint site this morning.
More settlers are expected to storm the mosque’s complex in the afternoon.
Usually, Israeli settlers storm the complex every day in the morning and afternoon through its Al Mughrabi Gate, southwest of the mosque.
According to eyewitnesses, some settlers tried to perform religious rituals at the site but were prevented by Israeli police.
Settler groups have called on supporters to converge on the site, one day after the Israeli Magistrate’s Court in Jerusalem on Sunday ruled that performing Jewish religious rituals at the site does not constitute a violation of public security.
While the verdict drew condemnations from the Palestinians and Jordan, the Israeli government said it will appeal against the court ruling.
Since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the Al Aqsa compound almost daily.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs, a total of 34,562 Israeli settlers stormed Al Aqsa Mosque compound in 2021.
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 in a move never recognised by the international community.