"At least 35 Jewish settlers, backed by Israeli police, stormed al-Aqsa mosque through Al-Mugharbeh gate," Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told reporters today. "The Jewish settlers toured the complex, passing by the Al-Qibali and Al-Marwani mosques, before leaving from Al-Rahmeh gate."
Qiswani added that the settlers tried to perform Talmudic Rituals near the Dome of the Rock mosque, but the Muslim worshipers prevented them.
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 East Jerusalem during the 1967 war. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognised by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli leader Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada" – a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.