Medical sources announced this morning the death of a Palestinian child, Mohammed Hani al-Kasaba (17), from Qalandia refugee camp near al-Ram town north of Jerusalem, during his attempt to enter Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
According to sources, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot al-Kasaba as he tried to climb the separation wall in order to enter Jerusalem and pray at al-Aqsa for the third Friday prayers of Ramadan.
Al-Kasaba was shot at half past seven this morning as he attempted to scale the wall and subsequently fell from a great height. Israeli soldiers did not attend to him and he was left seriously injured by the wall until a group of citizens took him by private car to the Palestine Medical Complex where, after a long attempt by doctors to save his life, he was later pronounced dead.
According to Hebrew sources, an Israeli military jeep driving by al-Ram township was pelted with stones as dozens of young men, including al-Kasabeh, attempted to climb the wall into Jerusalem and attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Soldiers from the jeep then disembarked and opened fire, resulting in al-Kasaba’s death.
Tensions rose in Jerusalem and the area surrounding the checkpoint to Qalandia refugee camp after the news of al-Kasaba’s death became public.
Areas of Jerusalem, al-Ram and especially Qalandia reported heavy police and army presence in the aftermath of the IOF’s shooting of the 17 year old, in anticipation of the outbreak of angry confrontations during the young man’s funeral after Friday prayers today.
In Qalandia itself, an atmosphere of extreme anger translated into youths throwing stones intermittently at the military checkpoint. They were, however, hampered by the presence of an enormous number of people flowing into Jerusalem to attend the prayers.
Israel has only been granting permits for men over the age of 45 to enter Al-Aqsa mosque compound during Friday prayers, prompting many young men and teenagers from the West Bank to climb the separation wall for a chance to pray at their holy site.
Inside Jerusalem itself, IOF has tightened procedures at checkpoints around the city and deployed thousands of soldiers in Jerusalem’s streets and in the Old City, restricting the movement of young men and preventing them from reaching the mosque. This has lead to an increased tension as hundreds of thousands of worshipers flood the divided city every Friday of Ramadan.
Al-Kasaba’s two brothers were also killed by IOF soldiers inside Qalandia refugee camp in 2002.