World Bulletin/News Desk
At least 20 Jewish settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday under heavy police protection, a Palestinian official has said.
Knesset Member Shuli Moalem-Rafaeli was among those who entered the compound via the Al-Magharbeh Gate, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, a Palestinian NGO, told Anadolu Agency.
According to al-Khatib, Moalem-Rafaeli had attempted to force her way into the courtyards outside the Dome of the Rock Mosque to perform Talmudic rituals, but Palestinian worshipers had stopped her from doing so.
"Israeli police arrested [Palestinian woman] Sahar al-Netsheh, 31, and took her to one of the interrogation centers in the Old City," he said.
A group of Palestinian women gathered in the mosque complex to protest al-Netsheh's detention.
Israeli police said that Moalem-Rafaeli had been pushed and shouted at, but was not hurt, noting that a "suspect" had been detained in relation to the incident.
Israeli police also detained four Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem for allegedly hurling rocks at Israeli security forces.
Police said on Twitter that the four Palestinians were arrested for throwing stones at Israeli forces in Jerusalem's Wadi al-Juz neighborhood.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that Israeli security reinforcements would remain in the city.
Clashes broke out earlier Monday between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces in several East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, Israeli forces have detained 23 Palestinians within the past several hours.
Tension has been running high in East Jerusalem since last Thursday, when Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following the shooting of an extremist Jewish rabbi in the city.
The closure was the first of its kind since the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel in 1967.
Israeli authorities reopened Al-Aqsa on Friday following a day of violent clashes with Palestinian protesters, but barred male Muslim worshippers under 50 years old from entering the religious site.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, for his part, warned that the closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound constituted a "declaration of war" on the Palestinian people and their sacred places.
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 as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 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 the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2014, 15:58