JERUSALEM : Scores of Israeli settlers on Tuesday forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem on the fourth day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Sukkot is a weeklong holiday, which started on Sept. 29 and will continue until Oct. 6, ending a season of Jewish holidays that started by observing the Rosh Hashanah (New Year) on Sept. 15.
Witnesses told Anadolu that dozens of settlers stormed the mosque in groups through the Al-Mughrabi Gate in the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Police have imposed age restrictions and prevented young Palestinians from entering the mosque during periods of incursions, they added.
More than 1,100 settlers stormed the complex on Monday and made tours of the mosque’s courtyards and attempted to perform “Talmudic rituals,” according to an official with the Islamic waqf, or endowment department.
Israeli police began allowing the settler incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in 2003, despite repeated condemnations from Palestinians.
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, a move never recognized by the international community. — AA