Over 200 settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex

Over 200 settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex

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

By Esat Firat

JERUSALEM (AA) - More than 200 Israeli settlers on Thursday stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem said in a statement that 215 settlers guarded by Israeli police raided Haram al-Sharif from the Al-Maqaribe (Moroccans) Gate, southwest of the mosque.

The settlers left the area after wandering around the courtyards of the mosque.

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.

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