Israeli troops raid Al-Aqsa, injuring 158 worshipers
Israel–158 Palestinians were hurt in clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a key holy site in Jerusalem, on Friday, six of them were badly injured. During a dawn assault on the mosque to evict 2,000 worshipers, three paramedics, three journalists, and 400 other people were detained. Police officers fired gas bombs and rubber bullets, and were shown in recordings shoving and abusing people.
According to Palestinian accounts, Israeli police barricaded all mosque entrances, blocked Red Crescent staff from entering, and hampered ambulances from transporting injured people from the mosque compound to hospitals. Police allegedly shot rubber bullets at Al-Aqsa guards, journalists, medical professionals, and Red Crescent medics, as well as hitting them with batons.
They were also accused of snatching ambulance keys and encircling the Al-Aqsa clinic, where scores of injured people were receiving first aid. Worshippers were allegedly assaulted with gas grenades and forced to lie down before being viciously beaten, according to witnesses.
Violent clashes broke out between Israeli police and hundreds of young men in the complex as a result of the operation. After morning prayers, a big demonstration was held in favor of Al-Aqsa and as a warning against settlers infiltrating the mosque during the Jewish Passover, which began on Friday evening. Palestinian teenagers fired stones and firecrackers at Israeli officers at the same moment.
Al-Aqsa guards foiled an attempt by three Israelis dressed as Arabs to access the mosque’s courtyards on Thursday. After Israeli soldiers detained and ejected hundreds of young men from Al-Aqsa courtyards, the doors of Al-Aqsa were reopened to worshippers shortly before Friday prayer. Those who had traveled to Jerusalem for the second Friday prayer of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque felt terror and fear as a result of the morning violence.
“The invasion of the mosque by the Israeli occupation police and the brutal repression of the worshipers at dawn on Friday led to a drop in the number of worshippers,” Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News. We anticipated 170,000 worshippers, but there were only 60,000.” He further accused Israel of repeatedly infringing on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and agitating Muslims. “Al-Aqsa Mosque is a sacred location for Muslims alone, and it does not tolerate cooperation or division with Jews,” Al-Kiswani added. Israeli provocations, whether perpetrated by police or extreme Jews, are backed by Israel’s right-wing government. The (Israeli) occupation permits the assault of Al-Aqsa on any Jewish holiday or feast, whether or not Ramadan is observed.
“Jewish radicals and the Israeli occupation have nothing to do with Al-Aqsa, which is only a Muslim right,” he said, “but the Israelis want to convert the struggle into a religious one and impose a new reality on the mosque.” He claimed that for the past 16 years, consecutive Israeli administrations have been far-right governments, with each one attempting to be more radical than the last in order to win elections by increasing and dominating the policy towards Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Ramadan days are for prayer,” Al-Kiswani stated, “but the occupying forces transform them into farewells to martyrs and repeatedly violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The Israeli police chastised worshipers for rioting and disrupting public order in a statement. Thousands of Palestinians took part in large marches in the Gaza Strip following Friday prayers, criticizing Israeli police abuse at Al-Aqsa.
“The hand of (Palestinian) resistance is lengthy in Gaza, Jenin, and Nablus,” Khaled Al-Batsh, a major leader of the Islamic jihad, remarked. “The provocation on the Holy Esplanade must end now,” said Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, who voiced serious worry about “the increasing security concerns in Jerusalem during these holy days.” He demanded an end to the provocations at Al-Aqsa, said the UN was in close communication with important regional partners and parties to de-escalate the situation, and encouraged authorities on both sides to do so promptly.
Israel’s “continuous transgressions and aggressions against helpless Palestinians, permitting members of its troops to occupy Al-Aqsa Mosque and desecrate its sanctity,” according to Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, a bastion of Islamic study. The death of innocent Palestinians by the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, During the beautiful month of Ramadan, the Gaza Strip and Palestinian cities are a shame to the international community and mankind.”
“The occupation’s attempt to escape its internal crises by escalating violence against our Palestinian people and using Jewish holidays to implement its Judaization plans will only lead to a further deterioration of the situation,” said prominent Palestinian leader Mohammed Dahlan in a Facebook post. Israel is solely responsible for the repercussions, and it should be aware that it will not be secure and stable unless our Palestinian people are secure and stable.” Jordan denounced Israel’s police intervention and warned of the dangers of the hazardous escalation. It held Israel accountable for the protection of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its visitors.