Israeli forces violently raid Al-Aqsa Mosque

Raid followed by multiple Israeli strikes on Gaza

al aqsa
(Photo: Twitter)
AMMAN — Overnight, Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, firing stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian worshippers. اضافة اعلان

The violent raid at Islam’s third holiest site during the holy month of Ramadan resulted in the injury of dozens of worshippers, who were spending the night praying at dawn on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

At least 400 Palestinians were arrested on Wednesday who remain in Israeli custody, according to Palestinian officials, reported Al Jazeera.

The Israeli raid comes as Muslims mark the holy month of Ramadan and Jews prepare to begin the Passover festival on Wednesday evening, raising fears of increased violence.

A similar raid two years ago triggered a wider conflict, with Israelis launching an 11-day war on the Gaza Strip.

Gaza strikesIsraeli planes also attacked multiple sites in Gaza, striking targets at a “military site” west of the city and a site in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the center of the Strip, according to Al Jazeera’s Maram Humaid in Gaza.

The Israeli attack on Gaza was preceded by four missiles fired earlier on Wednesday from Gaza in response to the police raid on Al-Aqsa.

According to Reuters, witnesses have said that Israeli tanks also fired at Hamas positions along the Gaza Strip’s southern border.

No casualties from the attacks were reported immediately.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said that the latest Israeli bombardment is “a failed attempt to prevent Gaza from continuing its support (for) our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank”, as reported by Al Jazeera.

He hailed the “valiant resistance” of Palestinians, including those in the Gaza Strip, adding that they will continue to exercise “our right to support the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

CondemnationThe Jerusalem Waqf Department strongly condemned the Israeli occupation Forces' raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The raid resulted in the desecration of the mosque's sanctity, assault on worshipers, breaking of windows and doors, and forceful expulsion and arrest of worshipers.

These actions violate the identity and function of the mosque and encroach on the authority of the Jerusalem Waqf Department, it said.

The statement also called on Arab and Muslim countries, and the international community to end the attacks on the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Muslim worshipers, and their right to practice their religion.

It stressed that it would spare no effort to enable all Muslims to enter the mosque.

Jordan also denounced the incursion of Israeli forces into Al-Aqsa Mosque Comlex on Wednesday, and demanded Israel to desist from such actions against the holy shrine, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates spokesperson Sinan Majali affirmed that the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the desecration of its sanctity represent a blatant contravention of international law, and the historical and legal status quo pertaining to Jerusalem and its sacred sites.

Majali warned that continued breaches and attacks on holy sites could lead to a further escalation, holding Israel accountable for the protection of worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque and for the harmful consequences of this escalation.

Qatar and Saudi also condemned the attack.

The Palestinian leadership condemned the attack on the worshippers. The spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, warned Israel that such a move “exceeds all red lines and will lead to a large explosion”.

Rising tensionsThe Al-Aqsa Complex is referred to as Al-Haram Al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, by Muslims, and as the Temple Mount by Jews.

The site has been the most contested piece of territory in the Holy Land since Israel occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in 1967, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces said they moved in after “several law-breaking youths and masked agitators” brought fireworks, sticks and stones and barricaded themselves into the mosque, reported Al Jazeera.

Israeli forces said they dispersed groups of youths with stun grenades and rubber bullets inside the mosque compound. One officer was injured in the leg, while some 350 people were arrested, they said.

Tensions have been steadily rising since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government took office late last year.

The police force is overseen by Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist with a history of violent rhetoric and actions against Palestinians.

Israeli forces have carried out near-daily raids on Palestinian cities, towns and villages to quell Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation since last year.

More than 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis have killed 15 people in the same period.

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