GAZA CITY, Palestine 

Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Sunday called for stepping up protests against Israeli settler incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

“We call on our people everywhere to gather and escalate activities rejecting [settler] incursions that are guarded by occupation army and police,” Hamas spokesman Mohmmed Hamada said in a statement.

In recent days, right-wing Israeli groups have called on settlers to force their way into Al-Aqsa complex to mark Jewish holidays as of Monday until the end of September.

Israeli police began allowing settler incursions in 2003, despite repeated condemnations from the Islamic Endowment Department.

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.

Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara

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