World Bulletin / News Desk
"More than 300 settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound through Al-Mugharbeh gate under tight protection of Israeli forces since morning," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of Al-Aqsa Affairs, told Anadolu Agency.
Jewish extremist groups have called on supporters to converge on Al-Aqsa compound this week to mark Sukkot, a week-long holiday, which started Sunday evening and will continue until the following Sunday.
According to al-Khatib, settlers tried to preform Talmudic rituals near Al-Qibali mosque and the Dome of the Rock before leaving the compound.
"Israeli police, meanwhile, have deployed hundreds of forces and erected roadblocks at the gates of Al-Aqsa compound,” he said.
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.
On Tuesday, the executive board of the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially adopted a resolution denying a Jewish connection to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The resolution called on Israel -- as an "occupying power" -- to restore of the "historic status quo" that prevailed until September 2000, under which the Jordan-run Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs exercised exclusive authority over the iconic mosque complex.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem -- in which the Al-Aqsa is located -- during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital -- a move never recognized by the international community.