Scores of Jewish settlers storm al-Aqsa

Scores of Jewish settlers storm al-Aqsa
Dozens of Jewish settlers stormed the complex of al-Aqsa as the Islamic Movement sends in supporters for 'protection' in response to the raids.
2 min read
08 April, 2015
The Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosques compound [AFP/Getty]

A number of Jewish settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque complex, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning, following a similar raid on Sunday.

"About 70 settlers overran al-Aqsa Mosque compound Sunday morning through the Dung Gate of Jerusalem's Old City, stirring the ire of many Muslim worshippers in the complex," Director of the al-Aqsa Mosque Omar al-Kaswani told Anadolu Agency.

However, Kaswani dismissed Israeli media reports that worshippers had attacked settlers inside the compound.

The Islamic Movement in occupied Palestine sent dozens of buses carrying supporters in response to Wednesday's raids.

The movement called on Palestinians in Jerusalem and inside Israel to step up their presence in the mosque today to "protect it against settler raids" and to "prevent settlers from desecrating al-Aqsa."

Recent months have seen an increase in groups of Jewish settlers – often accompanied by Israeli security forces – repeatedly forcing their way into the al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.

Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site for Muslims, and Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Release of lecturer

On Tuesday night, Israeli authorities released Samir Shuqair, a lecturer at al-Quds University who had been detained in his land in Wadi al-Rababa, near the town of Silwan, south of al-Aqsa Mosque.

He was being questioned for "entering the land unlawfully".

Speaking to al-Araby al-Jadeed, Shuqair said the incident had been  "deliberately planned" and claimed he was the victim of an ambush.

He added that he was assaulted inside the military vehicle, and after hours of interrogation regarding the reasons he was present in his land, he was issued a citation and ordered to pay a fine of 2,000 shekels ($500).

Shuqair said that the Israeli government organisation, Israel Nature and Parks Authority, had raided his land last year claiming ownership of the property.

He was told that his family had "no right" to use the land, adding that fences and other structures built by his family had been destroyed by the organisation.