Dozens of Israeli settlers on Sunday forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to an Islamic authority responsible for the site.
“Dozens of Jewish extremists stormed the compound this morning,” the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordan-run agency tasked with overseeing the city's Islamic sites, said in a statement.
“This is an explicit violation to the secrecy of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” it said.
For his part, Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, said 152 Jewish settlers backed by Israeli soldiers had forced their way into the compound through the Al-Mugharbah Gate.
For Muslims, the 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 annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
Reporting by Said Amouri:Writing by Mahmoud Barakat