World Bulletin/News Desk
Hundreds of Jewish settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex within the past two-month period, a Palestinian NGO has said.
"A total of 2,708 Israelis, mostly Jewish settlers, stormed the Al-Aqsa complex in October and November," the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a statement issued on Thursday.
According to the NGO, some 1,600 Israelis – including 1,411 Jewish settlers, 104 soldiers and 83 intelligence agents – stormed the site in October alone.
It added that Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakt had been the most prominent Israeli political figures to have entered the holy site in October.
And in November, the NGO reported, 1,411 Israelis entered the site, including 1,081 Jewish settlers, 104 soldiers and 22 Israeli intelligence officers.
In total, 13,757 Israelis have forced their way into the mosque compound since the beginning of 2014, compared to 12,771 who forced their way into the compound throughout the course of 2013.
Tension has run high in East Jerusalem since Israeli authorities briefly closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in late October following the shooting of an extremist rabbi in West Jerusalem.
The closure of Al-Aqsa, along with the killing by Israeli police of a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi, has prompted angry protests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Since then, several Israelis have been killed and injured in a spate of attacks by Palestinians – both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.
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 Jewish temples in ancient times.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon triggered what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Aralık 2014, 15:29