More than 1,300 Jewish settlers raid Al Aqsa Mosque

Protected by heavily armed Israeli occupation police, 1,371 Israeli Jewish settlers accompanied by Knesset members stormed Al Aqsa Mosque and clashed with Palestinian Muslim worshipers inside the third Islamic holy site.

Media sources and eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli settlers stormed Al Aqsa Mosque early on Sunday morning to celebrate their fast day which commemorates their alleged day of temple destruction thousands of years ago.

The Israeli police violently attacked the Palestinian worshipers, detained many of them, and lynched others in order to clear the way for the settlers.

Videos went viral on the internet showing the violent aggression of the Israeli police against the Palestinian worshipers who were determined not to leave Al Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli MK Itamar Ben-Gvir and former MK and extremist rabbi, Yehudah Glick, accompanied the groups of settlers who raided Al Aqsa Mosque.

Witnesses said that the Israeli occupation force closed the gates of Al Qibli Mosque, the main prayer hall inside Al Aqsa Mosque, with chains in order to block the Muslim worshipers inside and afford safe and calm conditions for the extremist settlers.

While the Jewish settlers were inside Al Aqsa Mosque, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an assessment of the security situation with Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev and police chief Kobi Shabtai, with the premier’s office.

According to the Times of Israel, he instructed that “the orderly and safe ascent of Jews” to Al Aqsa Mosque “should continue, while order is maintained at the site.”

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, Imam of Al Aqsa Mosque, said: “What is going on inside Al Aqsa Mosque is a violent aggression on the Muslim worshipers, who are the owner of the holy site.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – said in a statement that the Israeli occupation government is unleashing its settlers to desecrate Al Aqsa Mosque.

The settler aggression on Al Aqsa Mosque ended without casualties among the Palestinians, except the detention of several of them amid calls by the settlers for more raids on the Muslim holy site.

Hamas slams Israeli provocations

Palestinian resistance group Hamas has decried plans by Israeli settlers to storm the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, reports Anadolu Agency.

“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 organise 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.

Israeli security forces stand by as Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray outside Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on 24 July 2017 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

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.

Following Israeli lobbying for intensifying raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas warned Israel not to test its patience because it is ready to defend the Palestinian holy sites, land and property.

In a statement sent to media, Hamas called on the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip: “To keep their fingers on the trigger so that the occupier understands that Gaza is a shield for Al-Aqsa Mosque and a sword raised for defending Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian resistance movement reiterated: “Continuous mobilisation against the Palestinian holy sites, land and property, as well as harassing the Palestinian people is something that does not go unpunished.”

Meanwhile, Hamas called on the Palestinian people in the diaspora to continue organizing events and activities in support of Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli settler groups, backed by occupying forces, have called for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Day of Arafat as well as placing restrictions on Muslim worshippers on holy days.

The Day of Arafat is an Islamic holiday that falls on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Hajj. It is the holiest day in the Islamic calendar, the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage and the first day of the major Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

In response to the settlers’ plans, Jerusalemites also called for going on a holy pilgrimage to Al-Aqsa Mosque to repel settler raids.

“We are calling on people to travel to Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Day of Arafat to repel settlers’ incursions into the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Al-Qastal, a networking hub for Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, tweeted.