JERUSALEM

Dozens of Israeli settlers on Thursday forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian agency.

In a statement, the Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem said 122 settlers broke into the flashpoint site guarded by Israeli police.

Usually, Israeli settlers storm the complex every day in the morning and afternoon through its Al-Mughrabi Gate, southwest of the mosque.

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, a move never recognized by the international community.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara

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