Israeli settlers break into al-Aqsa Mosque amid calls for mass breaks-in ahead of Jewish holidays
Israeli settlers have once again intruded into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound before the start of the Jewish holidays in the occupied Old City of al-Quds in the latest act of provocation against the sacred Palestinian site.
Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported that scores of Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, broke into the compound through the Moroccan Gate on Sunday and provocatively performed rituals and Talmudic prayers.
Hundreds of settlers were also reported to perform rituals in the Al-Buraq Wall plaza, which overlooks the Mosque from the west.
The incident took place amid calls by Israeli settler organizations to hold mass break-ins into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of the Jewish holidays on September 29.
In a statement on Thursday, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas warned of "repercussions" over Israel's incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque before the start of the Jewish holidays when settler raids on the super-sensitive compound mount.
"The continuation of the Zionist aggression and their brutality against al-Quds and the holy shrines will be the cause of a major battle," said Mahmud Zahar, a senior member of the Gaza-based resistance movement.
Pointing to Palestinian concerns that a long-standing convention by which Israeli Jewish settlers may visit but not pray in the holy site was being covertly flouted, Zahar said Israel would be held "fully responsible for the repercussions of such violations."
Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.