Israeli police Monday morning injured hundreds of Palestinians as they violently cracked down on worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) said that its medics provided treatment to 278 Palestinians who sustained injuries from Israeli police gunfire at the mosque compound as tensions continue to soar over Israeli settler takeover of Palestinian property in Shekh Jarrah and encroachments upon the mosque compound since the start of Ramadan fasting month.
PRC added that among the injuries were one serious injury, 13 others injured from direct hits in their eyes, in addition to others who sustained light to moderate injuries from tear gas suffocation.
The PRC medics, who are denied access by Israeli police into the mosque compound and deliberately targeted by police, have transferred 50 injuries from Bab al-Asbat, also known as the Lions Gate, to hospitals in Jerusalem.
An immense number of policemen forced their way into the mosque compound, stationing themselves in central areas, mainly in the courtyards of the Dome of the Rock, and making their way to al-Qibli Mosque and the Bab al-Rahma prayer area, attempting to force everyone towards the exits with indiscriminate use of gunfire and tear gas.
They also stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque Director’s Office and the clinic and kicked everyone out as snipers occupied the rooftops of the buildings inside the flashpoint site.
Police arrested a number of injured Palestinians while forcing them out of the holy site through Bab al-Asbat.
Director of the Mosque, Sheikh Omar Kiswani, described the police storming as “unprecedented” while calling on the international community to bring the Israeli aggression to an end.
Witnesses confirmed that police, some mounted on horses, violently attacked hundreds of Palestinians cleared out of the mosque compound throughout the Old City, showering them with skunk water and causing a number of fainting and suffocation cases.
Despite the police crackdown, police failed to secure an intrusion into the site by extremist Jewish groups, who vowed to enter the holy compound as they mark the anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem in June 1967.
Palestinians in Jerusalem held protests in the recent days in solidarity with 40 Palestinians, including 10 children, who face the imminent risk of being kicked out from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to replace them with entirely Jewish settlers.
Palestinians are expected to proceed with their protests throughout the week and into the next as they attempt to save their neighborhood.
The Israeli Supreme Court, which could be liable for war crimes its policies supporting the dispossession and forcible transfer of Palestinians, a war crime under international law, postponed a ruling on the case to next Monday, which happens to also be Israel’s Jerusalem Day, celebrating the occupation of East Jerusalem following the 1967 war.
Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israeli colonial settler organizations have claimed ownership of the land in Sheikh Jarrah and have filed multiple lawsuits to evict Palestinians from the neighborhood since 1972.
Tensions have escalated in Jerusalem since the start of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with night-time clashes between police and worshippers in the East Jerusalem following the police decision to ban people from sitting on the stairs outside Bab al-Amoud, also known as Damascus Gate, under the guise of implementing the coronavirus restrictions, and its decision to disconnect the power supply to the call to prayer at the mosque compound.
Large Israeli police force raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, attack worshippers; injuries reported
A large Israeli police force raided this morning Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s old city and attacked Palestinian worshippers, according to witnesses.
They said the forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the worshippers causing several cases of injuries.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said the police refused to allow its crews to enter the walled Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to evacuate the wounded.
Meanwhile, the police raid came to secure the plaza of the Muslim holy site for intrusions by extremist Jewish groups, who vowed to enter the holy compound as they mark the anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem in June 1967, including the historic old city and its Muslim and Christian holy places.
The Red Crescent and witnesses said the police acted violently against the worshippers who observed an all-night vigil at the Mosque as part of the worship duties during the holy fast month of Ramadan, which ends in two days.
However, as the police attempted to evacuate the compound of the Muslim worshippers for the Jewish fanatics to enter it, clashes broke out and heavy fire was used to subdue the Palestinians.
Tension has been high at Al-Aqsa Mosque and East Jerusalem in general during the month of Ramadan as Israeli police attempted to prevent Palestinians from celebrating their holy month and also as a result of attempts to forcibly evict several Palestinian families out of their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in order to replace them with Israeli settlers.
For many Palestinians in Jerusalem and across the occupied Palestinian territory, Ramadan is directly connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.