Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds, in yet another provocative move against Palestinian worshipers.
Eyewitnesses told Ma’an news agency that the raid by the radical settlers was carried out under heavy protection from Israeli forces. They said the settlers raised Israeli flags and performed provocative dances inside the vicinity.
The occupation troops also deployed soldiers inside and around the mosque to secure the settlers’ intrusions, said the eyewitnesses.
Israeli soldiers also attacked scores of Palestinians, including young men, in the mosque’s courtyards through the Bab al-Amoud area and the Old City. They tried to force the Palestinians to leave the site to allow the colonizers to tour it, leading to protests.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas called upon Palestinians from all walks of life to mobilize en masse, increase their presence at the mosque’s compound, and protect the sacred site against recurrent incursions by Israeli settlers.
“We hail the Palestinian people in occupied Palestinian territories and across the West Bank who stand steadfast against the Israeli occupation violations and crimes,” it said in a statement.
Hamas also called on the Arab and Muslim Ummah, along with the free people of the world, to “support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and work toward protecting them against the Israeli occupation’s violations.”
On Friday morning, thousands of Palestinian worshipers reached al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Friday prayers in its courtyards amid the strict Israeli measures. According to local news agencies, the number of Palestinians attending the prayers reached 75,000.
Israeli settler incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque have been on the rise in recent weeks in light of the arrival of a new far-right extremist regime led by PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
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, leading to daily confrontations with Palestinians at the mosque, with many injured, arrested and killed.
The issue has been a major flashpoint between the Israeli occupation and Palestinians for decades. It was the epicenter of the 2000-2005 Palestinian Intifada, also known as the uprising.