Dozens of Israeli settlers on Thursday forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian agency.
The Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem said in a brief statement that 76 settlers broke into the flashpoint compound under the protection of Israeli police.
More settlers are expected to enter the site later in the afternoon.
Israeli settlers storm the complex every day except on weekends; Friday for Muslims and Saturday for Israelis.
Israeli police began allowing the settler incursions in 2003, despite repeated condemnations from the Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem.
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.
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.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara
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