Scores of Jewish settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover.
“Israeli police allowed 167 settlers to storm the compound in celebration of Passover,” an official with the Religious Endowments Authority, a Jordan-run authority responsible for overseeing the city’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
He said the commander of Israeli police was among the settlers who forced their way into the flashpoint site.
Passover, which commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt during the time of Prophet Moses, is considered one of the most important holidays on the Jewish religious calendar.
Last year, more than 1,500 settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa compound during Passover.
For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.