JERUSALEM, Nov 11– Dozens of Jewish settlers under Israeli police protection forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), media reports said.
“At least 49 settlers protected by ten Israeli special forces troops stormed the compound early this morning,” a Palestinian guard at the holy site said on Monday, Andolu news agency reported.
According to the guard, the settlers forced their way into the compound through the Al-Magharbeh Gate and toured the complex for 15 minutes before departing through the Al-Silisleh Gate.
“For three hours, I tried to enter the holy compound from several gates. Each time, I was denied access by the Israeli police,” one woman barred from entering the complex said.
“They are trying to keep us out of the place so as to facilitate the (Jewish) settlers’ intrusion,” the woman, requesting anonymity, added. “But it won’t work – every day, we thwart their plots.”
Tension has been running high in East Jerusalem since Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound late last month week following the shooting of an extremist rabbi in West Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces rounded up six Palestinians at dawn Monday in al-Khalil and Bethlehem governorates.
The PIC reporter said that Israeli soldiers nabbed five young men in al-Khalil province after breaking into and searching their homes.
Local sources said that Israeli soldiers in five army vehicles stormed al-Hawuz suburb in al-Khalil city and arrested Nael Abu Khalaf and Waddah Shehade.
In Beit Ummar village, to the North of al-Khalil, the soldiers arrested a former prisoner who had served two years of administrative detention in Israeli jails.
Two other youths were taken from their homes in Beit Uwa village, West of al-Khalil, at the pretext they were wanted for the intelligence. Other houses in the village were also searched in the process.
Eyewitnesses said that a young man was detained at Container checkpoint at the Eastern entrance to Bethlehem city.
On another development, 20 Palestinian youths and children appeared in an Israeli court for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
The 24 Palestinians, including 10 children, appeared in a court on Monday, a day after clashes broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters in the Galilee region, located North of the West Bank, press tv reported.
They had protested against the killing of 22-year-old Palestinian Khair al-Din Hamdan near the town of Kafr Kanna by Israeli forces.
The Palestinians are suspected of stone-throwing and what Israel calls other public order offences.
The Israeli court is to decide whether it will extend the suspects’ detention.
Israeli forces say Hamdan was shot during a raid, but a piece of footage released after the incident shows an Israeli soldier getting out of his car and shooting directly at the 22-year-old.
His relatives say that Hamdan was killed in cold blood.
Palestinian protesters have vowed to keep holding demonstrations against Hamdan’s killing until the Israeli soldier who shot him dead is brought to justice.
Following the unrest, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a harsh crackdown on protests.
The incident comes as tensions have been running high at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) over the past few weeks.
Palestinians are extremely angry at Tel Aviv’s raids as well as its new restrictions on the access of Palestinians to the mosque.