13 June, 2014 World Bulletin
Jerusalem, Palestine – A total of 1396 Israeli settlers and policemen have forcibly entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem since the beginning of June, a Palestinian NGO reported Thursday.
“There has been a marked surge in the number of Israelis breaking into the mosque compound this month compared with the previous month,” the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a statement.
It added that 1197 Jewish settlers, 62 Israeli intelligence personnel and 137 soldiers had entered the mosque compound since June 1.
The NGO called on Arabs and Muslims to shoulder “their responsibilities toward the mosque,” calling for urgent steps to protect the iconic house of worship from what it described as “Israeli escalations.”
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have repeatedly forced their way into the Al-Aqsa complex. The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
For Muslims, 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 prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It unilaterally annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community [because it was and is illegal – ed].