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Hamas slams Israeli settler calls to storm Al-Aqsa complex in Jerusalem

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published May 14,2022

Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Saturday condemned Israeli settler calls to storm the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem as a "dangerous escalation."

"The calls to storm Al-Aqsa, on the anniversary of the Nakba, are a dangerous escalation, and a provocation to the sentiments of our people and our nation," Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a statement.

He warned that the settler provocations will trigger "an open clash that the Zionist occupation (Israel) will be fully responsible for its consequences."

Settler groups have called on supporters to force their way into the Al-Aqsa complex on Sunday, which coincides with the Palestinian Nakba Day.

Observed on May 15 annually, Nakba Day, or the Catastrophe Day, marks the 1948 forced expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in historical Palestine to pave the way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Qassem described the recurring setter incursions into Al-Aqsa complex as "desperate attempts that will not succeed in imposing a fait accompli and changing the facts of history that Al-Aqsa Mosque is Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic."

He also called on the Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and in Israel to head to Al-Aqsa Mosque to "thwart the plans of the occupation."

Tensions have been running high across the occupied Palestinian territories since last month amid repeated Israeli arrest campaigns in the West Bank and settler incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, claiming 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 recognized by the international community.