JERUSALEM, Israel -- Monday's visit by 150 Jewish school children and 50 adults to the Temple Mount angered its Palestinian Arab neighbors.
The visit took place on the first day of the Hebrew month of Av, eight days before Tisha B'av, the ninth of Av, when Jews mourn the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples, in 585 BC and 70 AD, respectively.
Police divided the children into three groups and instructed them not to express anything that could be interpreted as Jewish prayer or worship.
Despite every effort to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities, the al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said "nearly 200 Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa mosque under Israeli police protection in flagrant provocation to the Palestinian worshipers and students," according to a post on the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades' website.
"Since the early morning hours, five settler groups stormed al-Aqsa mosque from Mughrabi gate, including youths, children, mentors and soldiers in their military uniforms," the group reported on its website. "The settlers were shouting and laughing out loud and showed no respect for the place."
Hamas established the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades as its "military" wing in 1987 to help establish an Islamic state in "Palestine." The group has claimed responsibility for countless suicide bombings and other terror attacks on Israelis.