Hundreds of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa ahead of ‘Flag March’

Every year, Israeli settlers take part in the so-called ‘Flag March’, where many assault Palestinians, their property and chant anti-Palestinian slogans [Getty]

Hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on Wednesday, shortly before the extremist so-called Flag March is set to take place.

Local media reported that over 500 settlers stormed the Muslim complex under the protection of Israeli forces, performing religious rituals and touring around.

It comes after Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir threatened to storm the site in an interview with the Israeli Army radio.

He said the march was planned to pass through the Muslim Quarter and the Damascus Gate in the Old City in East Jerusalem.

“We need to hit them in the most important place for them. Every year, they said that it wasn’t appropriate and it wasn’t the time. But the opposite is true. If we give ground to them we get an October 7,” Ben-Gvir said, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The storming of the sacred site marks Israeli settlers’ celebration of ‘Jerusalem Day’, the anniversary of their capture of Palestinian East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

During the controversial Flag March, settlers wave Israeli flags and sing nationalist songs as well as anti-Arab slogans, while marching through Palestinian neighbourhoods.

The route the settlers take is seen as an endorsement of Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem.

During the Flag March, extremists will mark the event by deliberately provoking Palestinians by assaulting people and vandalising property.

Israeli police said on Monday that the Flag March would follow its “traditional” route through the Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter, despite heightened tensions caused by Israel’s war on Gaza.

Israeli news site Ynet reported that around 3,000 Israeli police will be providing security during the Flag March.

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