Over 560 settlers stormed the site after Israeli police forced Muslim worshippers to evacuate the mosque’s courtyard, witnesses say.

Since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the compound almost daily.
Since 2003, Israel has allowed settlers into the compound almost daily. (Instagram/moskharouf)

Hundreds of Israeli settlers have forced their way into the Al Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian agency has reported.

561 settlers stormed the flashpoint site under heavy police protection, the Department of Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem said in a statement on Monday.

The settlers toured the complex for about three hours and a half before leaving the site, the statement added.

Ahead of the settler incursion, Israeli police forced Muslim worshipers to evacuate the mosque’s courtyards, according to eyewitnesses.

Tension has mounted across the Palestinian territories since Israeli forces raided the Al Aqsa Mosque courtyard on Friday amid clashes with worshippers, injuring hundreds.

On Sunday, more than 700 Israeli settlers forced their way into the complex to celebrate the week-long Jewish Passover holiday.

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 war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.

READ MORE: Israel government faces new split over Al Aqsa Mosque storming

Source: AA