After entering Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Israeli security forces attacked Muslim worshippers with stun grenades, according to the local sources. The friction erupted when Israeli police deployed heavily as Muslims were performing evening prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli police attacked Muslim worshippers late on Friday inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem‘s Old City.
Some 53 Palestinians were injured in the clashes inside the Haram al-Sharif area, the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.
Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers inside the Haram al-Sharif via stun grenade and gas bomb, an official from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf (religious endowments) told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
Police attacked worshippers praying in the Masjid al-Qiblatain inside al-Aqsa with stun grenades and rubber bullets, with young Palestinians pelting Israeli soldiers with stones and glass bottles.
Meanwhile, clashes took place between Israeli security forces and Palestinians trying to enter Al-Aqsa through the Bab Al-Silsila, one of the gates to the mosque.
The intervention by Israeli police who also attacked young Palestinians in front of the Damascus and Es-Sahire gates of the Old City, caused panic among women and children.
Police allow for controlled passage through the gates of the Old City.
They continued their intervention at regular intervals against the Muslims in the mosque, while worshippers continued to perform Tarawih, special nightly prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, called on Israeli police to halt their attacks and withdraw from the mosque courtyard.
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 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
THOUSANDS FLOCK TO AL-AQSA MOSQUE TO PROTEST PALESTINIAN EVICTIONS
Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers packed into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan and many stayed on to protest in support of Palestinians facing eviction from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
With health restrictions mostly lifted following Israel’s swift COVID-19 vaccine campaign, worshippers huddled tightly together as they knelt in prayer on the tree-lined hilltop plateau containing the mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site.
Ongoing tensions in the city, which lies at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were the focus of a Friday sermon given by Sheikh Tayseer Abu Sunainah.
“Our people will remain steadfast and patient in their homes, in our blessed land,” Abu Sunainah said of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah area who could be evicted under a long-running legal case.
Following prayers, thousands remained on the compound to protest against the evictions, with many waving Palestinian flags and chanting a refrain common during Jerusalem protests: “With our soul and blood, we will redeem you, Aqsa”.
Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions on Monday.
‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’
Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are overwhelmingly Palestinian, but the neighbourhood also contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just.
The spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the evictions, “if ordered and implemented, would violate Israel’s obligations under international law” on East Jerusalem territory it captured from neighbouring Jordan and which it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
“We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer,” spokesman Rupert Colville said on Friday.
The European Union, Kuwait and Jordan have expressed alarm at the potential evictions. By dusk on Friday, scores of Israeli police in riot gear and about 100 protesters had gathered outside the eviction site.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Jordan had given the Palestinian Authority documents that he said showed the Sheikh Jarrah Palestinians were the “legitimate owners” of their homes.
Israel’s “provocative steps in occupied Jerusalem and violation of Palestinian rights, including the rights of the people of Sheikh Jarrah in their homes, is playing with fire,” Safadi said in a foreign ministry statement on Twitter.
Israel‘s foreign ministry said on Friday Palestinians were “presenting a real-estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause, in order to incite violence in Jerusalem.” Palestinians rejected the allegation.
Israeli-Palestinian clashes have broken out nightly in Sheikh Jarrah ahead of Monday’s court hearing.