Hundreds of Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa mosque compound on eve of Yom Kippur
Some 400 extremists stormed the Muslim holy place in under an hour, led by former Knesset member Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a source in the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem told The New Arab's Arabic sister service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The settlers carried out rituals and prayers near the Bab Al-Rahma prayer hall and held dancing and singing circles at the gates of Al-Aqsa, the source said, despite the longstanding status quo agreement governing the site restricting prayer to Muslims.
Over 2,000 local Palestinian businesses in and around the Old City were forced to shut on Yom Kippur, Hijazi Al-Risheq, secretary-general of the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera.
Al-Aqsa is the third holiest place in Islam. Jews consider the compound the most sacred site in their religion, believing it to be the location of their two ancient temples.
Many Jewish extremists either want to replace the mosque with a third temple or to see the site split between Jews and Muslims in terms of time and space available.
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
Israeli forces imposed a siege on Jerusalem and its surrounding neighbourhoods at dawn on Sunday, deploying thousands in and around the Old City and at the crossroads leading to Al-Aqsa, the Western Wall and the town of Silwan.
The forces brought dozens of concrete blocks to the entrances of all Palestinian neighbourhoods next to the Old City in preparation for closing them and preventing residents from moving around.
Hundreds of Jews organised provocative marches in the Old City, conducting rituals at the gates of Al-Aqsa.
They formed singing and dancing circles that included racist chants against Arabs.
Dozens of busloads of extremists also stormed the town of At-Tur near the Old City under the protection of Israeli forces.
The so-called "Union of Temple Organisations" had previously announced a central storming of the Al-Aqsa compound on the eve of Yom Kippur and on the day itself, on Monday. Collective prayers will be held during these two days.