Hundreds of Israeli settlers and security forces broke into the Al Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, April 18, the Islamic Endowments Department reported.
In a statement, the Palestinian agency said that 561 settlers stormed the compound accompanied by heavy police protection.
The settlers scoured the place for about three and a half hours and then left, according to the Islamic Department statement. The complex, where believers of Islam normally congregate during the month of Ramadan, is home to sacred to the three major monotheistic religions.
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Before the settler incursion, the Israeli police forced Muslim believers to evacuate the courtyards of the mosque, according to eyewitnesses.
Separately, nine Palestinians were wounded the same day in fresh Israeli incursions north of the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
The Israeli army has carried out various arrest campaigns in Palestinian cities in recent days, which has triggered clashes.
Tension has risen in the occupied Palestinian territories since Israeli forces stormed the Al Aqsa Mosque courtyard last Friday, clashing with worshipers and injuring hundreds.
On Sunday, more than 700 Israeli settlers forced their way into the compound to celebrate Passover.
Al Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two ancient Jewish temples.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.
*Ibrahim Mukhtar and Aicha Sandoval Alaguna contributed to the writing of this note.
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