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The New Arab

Settlers raid al-Aqsa compound under Israeli forces protection

Palestinians have been praying outside the mosque to avoid security checks [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 20 July, 2017

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At least 34 settlers raided the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Thursday morning under the protection of Israeli special forces, a security source had told The New Arab.

Dozens of Israeli settlers raided the ultra-sensitive al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday morning under the protection of Israeli special forces, a security source told The New Arab.

According to the source, 34 settlers took part in the raids on Thursday, while 60 others raided the holy site on Wednesday.

Israeli authorities closed down the al-Aqsa compound on Friday after five people were shot – the first time the mosque was closed for prayers in 48 years.

The site reopened on Sunday, but with metal detectors and cameras at entrances, prompting a Palestinian boycott over Israeli efforts to expand their control over the sensitive site.

Since then, hundreds of Muslim worshippers have been praying as close to the mosque as possible without going through the security checks.

Protests and scuffles between demonstrators and Israeli police have erupted outside the holy site in Jerusalem's Old City on previous nights.

Fresh clashes broke out on Wednesday near the Palestinian refugee camp of Shuafat in east Jerusalem, but without any immediate reports of casualties.

Meanwhile in the West Bank, Israeli forces carried out an operation of mass arrests on Thursday morning following four days of angry protests across the occupied territories.

Large numbers of Israeli soldiers launched dawn raids in Palestinian villages and towns across the the occupied West Bank, arresting dozens of young men.

One of the biggest campaigns was in the village of Issawiya, where six young men were arrested and their computers were seized.

There has been a big increase in the numbers of Israeli soldiers deployed in the last week, with over 5,000 expected to be on patrol in Jerusalem on Friday.

Palestinian political and religious leaders have called for a countrywide "Day of Anger" on Friday in response to the new security measures at al-Aqsa mosque.

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