Hundreds of Jewish settlers on Tuesday forced their way into Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, a Palestinian official said. Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for the Jordan-run Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which is responsible for overseeing the city’s Islamic sites, said a total of 537 settlers, backed by Israeli police, have stormed the complex since morning. According to al-Dibs, Jewish groups have called on supporters to converge on Al-Aqsa compound this week to mark Sukkot, a week-long holiday, which started Wednesday and will continue until Sunday.
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 -- in which the Al-Aqsa is located -- during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital -- a move never recognized by the international community.