Hundreds of Israelis storm Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa complex for Jewish holiday

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Hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, according to a Palestinian agency, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement, the Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which oversees holy sites in Jerusalem, said 468 settlers entered the site through the compound’s Al-Mugharbah Gate under police protection.

The intrusions came as Israeli settlers prepare to mark, on Tuesday, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which is considered the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. It is traditionally observed with a day-long fast and special services held at synagogues.

Israeli police have deployed additional forces across occupied East Jerusalem in anticipation of possible protests with Palestinians, due to the settler intrusions into Al-Aqsa compound.

READ: Jerusalem Patriarch condemns settler attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the compound almost daily.

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 recognised by the international community.

READ: Jordan MP, ‘Arab normalisation encouraged Israel’s aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque’

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