Palestinian resistance group Hamas has decried plans by Israeli settlers to storm the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
“These incursions by extremist settler groups under the protection of the occupation forces are an assault on our holy sites,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said in a statement.
“This behavior is a provocation to the sentiments of the Arabs and Muslims around the world and disrespect to all international calls condemning these incursions,” he said.
Israeli settler groups have called on supporters to force their way into Al-Aqsa complex in large numbers on Sunday to mark what they call the “destruction of the temple” in ancient times.
The so-called Sovereignty Movement in Israel is also preparing to organize a march for settlers around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on the same day.
On Saturday, hundreds of settlers staged a march in occupied East Jerusalem ahead of their planned incursions on Sunday.
According to eyewitnesses, settlers marched through the Damascus Gate near Al-Aqsa Mosque complex on their way to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, known to by Muslims as Buraq Wall.
The Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone and detained three Palestinians.
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.
* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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