Israeli forces raid Al-Aqsa, around 150 Palestinians injured

WhatsApp Image 2022-04-15 at 6.53.23 PM
Israeli forces immobilize a Palestinian man at an entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound as others are prevented from entering on April 15, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Midday Muslim prayers at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites passed without incident after Israeli forces raided Al-Aqsa mosque, causing violence around dawn Friday. More than 150 were injured, according to AFP.اضافة اعلان

Friday marked the first day of a rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover, and Easter.

The violence capped weeks of escalating tensions in Israel and the occupied West Bank, and it led to fears of further conflagrations in the coming days.

The morning violence began about 5:30 am and lasted more than three hours at the site. Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers were gathered there for fajr (dawn) prayers on the second Friday of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 153 people were hospitalized and “dozens of other injuries” were treated at the scene. Israeli forces said at least three officers were hurt. Around 400 people were arrested, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, a group that supports inmates, AFP reported.

The Palestinian Red Crescent added that Israeli forces had hindered the arrival of ambulances and paramedics to the mosque, as Palestinian media said dozens of injured worshippers remained trapped inside the compound, according to Al-Jazeera News.

Israeli forces said they entered the compound, the third holiest site in Islam and revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, to break up a “violent” crowd that remained at the end of the morning prayers.

They said they went in “to disperse and push back” the crowd after a group of Palestinians began throwing rocks towards the nearby Jewish prayer space of the Western Wall.

Israeli forces also said that officers “did not enter the mosque,” according to AFP.

But Palestinian cameraman Rami Al-Khatib, who witnessed the raid said in a statement carried by Al-Jazeera News: “They (Israeli forces) brutally emptied the compound. They were attacking the mosque staff, normal people, elders, young people.”

“There were many injured people, they fired rubber bullets inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. They were beating everyone, even the paramedics, they hit them,” said Khatib, who too was injured, according to Al-Jazeera News.

Al-Aqsa mosque director Omar Al-Kiswani also told AFP that an “assault was made inside the Al-Aqsa mosque.”

“More than 80 young people inside the holy mosque were displaced,” he said, adding: “Al-Aqsa mosque is a red line.”

Before Ramadan, Israel and Jordan stepped up talks in an effort to avoid a repeat of last year’s violence.

Jordan serves as custodian of the mosque compound, while Israel controls access.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said there was “no place for the invaders and occupiers in our holy Jerusalem.”

Analysts say the group wants to keep the conflict alive in the West Bank and Jerusalem but avoid escalation in the Gaza Strip after last year’s war.

“Hamas does not want a new confrontation,” said Mukhaimer Abu Saada, professor of political science at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University.

Rumors had spread on Palestinian social media that Jewish hard-liners would breach Al-Aqsa Mosque this weekend, leading to calls for Palestinians to defend the area.

Palestinian authorities strongly condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa compound by Israeli police.

“The expulsion of the worshippers by force, repression, and batons in preparation for the incursions of the Jewish extremists will ignite the fire of the religious war for which the Palestinians alone will not pay the price,” the Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Read more Region and World
Jordan News