Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque as Jerusalem tensions continue
A group of 137 Israeli settlers stormed Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday morning according to a media official from the Islamic Waqf department in Jerusalem.
Firas Aldbs said that the intrusions took place through the Dung Gate in the western wall of al-Aqsa Mosque, which is controlled by the Israeli police.
Dozens of settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque and arrested 20 Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank on Tuesday night on charges of resisting the occupation.
According to local accounts, the arrests were concentrated in the governorates of Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron, where Israelis launched raids and arrests.
Since Friday, five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces across Jerusalem and the West Bank in some of the worst street violence in the occupied territories for years.
Three Israeli settlers were also stabbed to death in a settlement north of Ramallah.
On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would halt security coordination with Israel until the walk-through metal detectors at the al-Aqsa mosque are removed, fuelling fears of an escalation.
"If Israel wants security coordination to be resumed they have to withdraw those measures," Abbas said in a speech on Sunday, referring to the metal detectors.
"They should know that they will eventually lose, because we have been making it our solemn duty to keep up security on our side here and on theirs."
Security coordination has long been a cornerstone of PA-Israel relations, largely to crackdown on Hamas and mass protests, leading to widespread hostility among the Palestinians.