World Bulletin/News Desk
Scores of Jewish Settlers and Israeli soldiers on Sunday forced their way into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said.
"As many as 55 Jewish settlers stormed the holy compound through Al-Magharbeh Gate under the protection of Israeli police," Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, the Palestinian director of the Al-Aqsa complex, told The Anadolu Agency.
Dozens of Palestinian worshipers gathered inside the complex to stand up against the incursion, he noted,
"The settlers toured into the compound, passing through Al-Qibali and Marwani mosques before leaving through the Al-Silsila Gate," he added.
Meanwhile, Israeli police imposed strict measures at the gates, denying access to Palestinian men under the age of 40.
Tension has been running high in East Jerusalem since Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound late last month following the shooting of an extremist rabbi in West Jerusalem.
The closure of Al-Aqsa, along with the killing of a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi, has fueled angry protests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem .
Since then, several Israelis have been killed and injured in a spate of attacks by Palestinians – both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.
Further aggravating the situation, a handful of Israeli MPs and scores of Jewish settlers have forced their way into the mosque complex in recent weeks, drawing the ire of Muslim worshippers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.
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.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon triggered what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Last Mod: 30 Kasım 2014, 16:17