Middle East

Hamas official

Israeli settlers’ incursions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound “won’t change its Islamic character,” said Hamas’ Political Chief on Thursday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement, Ismail Haniyeh said recent events at Al-Aqsa Mosque will “shorten the (Israeli) occupier existence and that they will eventually be expelled from the Palestinian lands.”

He added that the Israeli occupiers’ labour from the delusion that they can change the Islamic status of Al-Aqsa Mosque by occupying it.

He warned that, just as Palestinians thwarted an Israeli flag march planned by Israeli radicals on Wednesday, they will, likewise, thwart intrusions at the Mosque compound.

He stressed: “We are still at the beginning of the battle.”

Over 150 Palestinians injured as Israeli police storm Al-Aqsa – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Tensions have been running high across the Palestinian territories since the beginning of April amid repeated Israeli arrest campaigns in the occupied West Bank.

Daily settler incursions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to celebrate the week-long Jewish Passover holiday have further inflamed the situation.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.

READ: Hamas calls on PA to release all political prisoners

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