Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:9PM
Israeli settlers and extremists are seen at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds on April 12, 2017. (Photo by Palestine Now news agency)
Israeli settlers and extremists are seen at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds on April 12, 2017. (Photo by Palestine Now news agency)

Nearly 300 Israeli settlers and extremists have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds amid rising acts of violence committed by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people.

On Wednesday morning, a total of 292 settlers forced their way into the holy site through the Bab al-Magharibah under tight protection of several groups of Israeli soldiers and special police forces, Arabic-language Safa news agency reported.

The settlers performed acts deemed provocative by Palestinians.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

Some 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to the Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Israel arrests Hamas lawmaker in occupied West Bank

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have arrested a legislator with the Gaza-based Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, along with three other Palestinians during separate raids across the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday morning, a large number of Israeli troopers raided the central West Bank city of Bireh and arrested Ahmad Attoun.

This file photo shows Palestinian lawmaker Ahmad Attoun at Qalandiya checkpoint. 

Israeli forces also detained 24-year-old Hazem Khalid Khallaf after raiding his house in the town of Dura near al-Khalil (Hebron).

Separately, Israeli troops detained a Palestinian at the Jaba' military checkpoint in the southern occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem. Local sources identified the detainee as 20-year-old Mutasem Samer Issa Brighith.

According to Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer, there are currently 6,500 Palestinians, including 53 women and 300 minors, held at Israeli jails. Thirteen Palestinian Legislative Council members are in “administrative detention.”

The so-called administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed an infinite number of times.

Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.