Dozens of settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex

Dozens of settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex

61 settlers guarded by Israeli police force their way into flashpoint compound

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) - Dozens of Israeli settlers on Wednesday stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian agency.

The Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem said in a brief statement that 61 settlers stormed the flashpoint complex this morning, guarded by Israeli police.

It is expected that more settlers will enter the building later in the day.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the incursions included provocations against Muslim worshipers by trying to perform Talmudic rituals at the site.

Settlers storm the complex every day, except for the weekend, Friday for Muslims, and Saturday for Israelis.

Israeli police began allowing the settler incursions in 2003, despite repeated condemnations by the Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem.

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 recognized by the international community.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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