Israeli police on Tuesday stopped dozens of Palestinian women and children from entering occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to eyewitnesses.
“Israeli police set up barricades at the entrances of the mosque and barred a number of women and children from entry,” one witness told Anadolu Agency. “Several of the children cried in terror after Israeli police chased them near the mosque compound’s Al-Asbat Gate.”
Tension has been running high at Al-Aqsa since Tuesday morning, when Israeli police allowed dozens of extremist Jewish settlers to enter the flashpoint mosque complex.
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.
Over the past two years, groups of Jewish extremists – often accompanied by Israeli security forces – have repeatedly forced their way into the mosque compound.
The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
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 Palestinian uprising against Israel’s decades-long occupation. (Anadolu Ajanasi)