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Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque ahead of provocative ‘flag march’

The file photo shows extremist Israeli settlers at al-Aqsa Mosque. (By Wafa news agency)

Hundreds of Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied al-Quds, as thousands of the regime’s forces have been deployed to the holy city to secure the provocative “flag march.”

Three groups of extremist settlers broke into the compound on Thursday morning under heavy protection and strict security measures of Israeli forces, with extremist rabbi and former Knesset member Yehudah Glick among them, the Palestinian Information Center reported, citing witnesses.

Around 3,000 Israeli police forces have been deployed at major intersections throughout occupied al-Quds, and roadblocks have been set up on the main roads disrupting normal life for Palestinians, ahead of the so-called flag march, scheduled to take place on Thursday afternoon.

Shops were ordered to remain closed for the day to allow free and easy access for the settlers to the Old City.

The march is expected to go through Bab al-Amoud, also known as Damascus Gate, in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of al-Quds before reaching the Western Wall plaza.

Hardline Israeli legislators and ministers, including Itamar Ben Gvir, intend to participate in the march.

The annual flag march marks Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and al-Quds in 1967. It is organized by far-right Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied al-Quds.

The march is also an attempt by extremist settlers to slam what they call the Tel Aviv regime’s failure to deal with the Palestinians and affirm their presence in the occupied Palestinian city and its holy sites.

Failed attempt to Judaize al-Quds

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has denounced the planned event, saying the “flag march is a failed attempt to implement racist Judaization plans.”

Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanoa said in a statement on Thursday that the movement will never allow the Israeli regime to execute its “evil plans” of taking control of al-Aqsa by holding the provocative march or repeatedly attacking the holy site.

He said the Israeli regime’s insistence on holding the march should wake up the entire Muslim and Arab Ummah.

Qanoa called on the Muslim and Arab Ummah to support the Palestinians and defend the al-Aqsa Mosque, highlighting the need for a large and unified presence of Palestinians at the holy site in order to defeat “the invaders’ evil plans.”

He also made clear that the Israeli regime’s policy of Judiazation will not change the Islamic and Arab character of al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Quds.

Illegal settler incursions under police protection to the al-Aqsa Mosque have been on the rise in recent years, during which many Palestinians have been injured, killed, or arrested.

Palestinians maintain that the Israeli regime is systematically working to Judaise al-Quds, where al-Aqsa Mosque is located, and obliterate its Arab and Islamic identity.

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