World Bulletin / News Desk
Scores of Jewish extremists backed by Israeli security forces stormed occupied East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday for the third day in a row, according to eyewitnesses.
Witnesses told Anadolu Agency that 170 Jewish settlers forced their way into the mosque compound through the Al-Magharbeh and Al-Silsila gates under the protection of Israeli troops and police.
According to witnesses, settlers attempted to perform Talmudic rituals inside the compound, but were prevented from doing so by Muslim worshipers and mosque guards.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the Palestinian director-general of Muslim endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs, told Anadolu Agency that Israeli forces had erected barriers at the gates of the mosque and prevented Palestinian men under 50 from entering the area.
Israeli forces, he added, had attacked Muslim worshipers with batons and arrested three Palestinians, including two women.
Tensions at Al-Aqsa have mounted in recent weeks due to a series of Jewish and Muslim religious holidays during which worshipers -- both Muslim and Jewish -- have visited the site in larger-than-usual numbers.
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 prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Some extremist Jewish groups openly advocate for the destruction of the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque so that a Jewish temple might be built in its place.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Middle East War.
It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.Last Mod: 01 Ekim 2015, 09:17