Jewish settlers storm Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
Witnesses said that more than 150 settlers entered the mosque
Dozens of Jewish settlers stormed Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, according to media reports.
Witnesses said that more than 150 settlers entered the mosque, which is the third holiest site for Muslims, reported Egyptian newspaper Youm7.
It added that Israeli security forces allowed only one guard from the Awqaf department, which runs the mosque on behalf of the Jordanian government, to walk at least 20 metres behind the crowd.
The minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Palestine, Yousef Adais, called on people to take part in a march to Al Aqsa on Saturday.
“Al Aqsa requires that we take a serious position that pushes back the settlers’ attacks and daily violations, which are exponentially multiplying,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Today, more than 150 settlers broke in under the supervision of the occupying [Israeli] forces.”
Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located in the Haram Al Sharif compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has long urged Muslims to visit Al Aqsa to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred ministers and legislators from entering the compound in October 2015 and only a handful of exceptions have been allowed since then.
The ban was meant to help calm unrest that had erupted in part over Palestinian fears that Israel was planning to assert further control over the compound.
Israel seized Palestinian east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it. The move was never recognised by the international community but Israel declared the city its undivided capital.
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Updated: July 18, 2018 03:59 PM