Scores of Jewish settlers on Sunday forced their way into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official has said.
"At least 60 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa compound through Al-Magharbeh Gate in groups under the protection of Israeli police," Sheikh Omar Al-Qiswani, Palestinian director of Al-Aqsa mosque, told Anadolu Agency.
"The settlers toured the complex, passing through Al-Qibali and Dome of the Rock mosques before leaving from Al-Rahmeh Gate," he said.
"The settlers tried to preform Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque," he said, noting that the bid was foiled by Muslim worshippers inside the complex.
The intrusion came upon calls by several Jewish groups to barge into the holy site to mark the Jewish Yom Yerushalayim holiday (Jerusalem Day), the day when Israel took control of the Old City of East Jerusalem after the 1967 war.
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 Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it – in addition to West Jerusalem – as the unified capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.