SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Dozens of Jewish settlers on Monday stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem under heavy protection from the Israeli police, a Palestinian official said.
“As many as 50 Jewish settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa compound through Al-Magharbeh Gate under tight protection of the Israeli police,” General Director of Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib told The Anadolu Agency.
“They wandered through the compound, passing by Al-Qibali and Al-Marwani mosques inside the complex,” he added.
The Jewish settlers left the compound through Al-Silsila Gate with no clashes reported, al-Khatib added.
Since the early morning, the Israeli police have been confiscating identity cards of Palestinian women and men before allowing them to get into the compound.
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.
Zionist Regime launches wide arrest campaign in West Bank
Meanwhile Israeli occupation forces on Monday launched a wide search and arrest campaign in the West Bank, according to Palestinian sources.
The sources reported that Israeli troops stormed the West Bank cities and arrested 20 Palestinian citizens, Petra -Jordan official news agency reports.
Israeli occupation forces have been launching almost daily search-and-arrest operations in which dozens of citizens and activists are routinely rounded up.