Scores of Jewish settlers on Monday stormed occupied East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after several Jewish groups called for mass incursions into the religious site to mark the Jewish Hanukkah holidays, a Palestinian official has said.
"Around 70 Jewish settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa complex through the Al-Magharbeh Gate under Israeli police protection," General Director of Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib told The Anadolu Agency.
"The settlers wandered around the compound and attempted to perform Talmudic rituals, but Muslim worshipers stood up to them," he said.
Al-Khatib added that Israeli police had detained three Muslim worshippers inside the mosque compound's Al-Asbat Gate.
Since Monday's early hours, Palestinian worshipers have converged inside the compound to demonstrate against repeated incursions by Jewish extremists.
Demonstrators gathered in front of the Al-Magharbeh Gate, through which Jewish settlers frequently force their way into the compound.
Jewish organizations had called on supporters to storm the mosque compound this week to mark the advent of the Jewish Hanukkah holidays, or the "Festival of Lights."
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.
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 in a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 22 Aralık 2014, 14:35