Palestine: Over 150 Palestinians injured as Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
By Abdelraouf Arnaout and Mahmoud Barakat
JERUSALEM (AA, PCHR and other agencies): 153 Palestinians were injured, including six in critical state, three journalists, and three paramedics, during dawn [fajr] prayers on Friday when Israeli occupation forces (IOC) stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and later desecrated the Mosque by entering inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacked Palestinian worshippers. The Israeli attacks happened during the holiest month of Ramadan.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 153 Palestinians were injured during the Israeli attacks in the courtyards of the mosque in East Jerusalem.
IOF launched a mass-arrest campaign after its breach into the holy mosque, at least 400 worshippers were arrested.
The Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, tear gas, or beaten by the Israeli police which also fired a barrage of stun grenades.
According to The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR) IOF also attacked al-Aqsa Mosque guards, medical and media crews, and paramedics, with rubber-bullets, and clubs; IOF threatened the rescue crews attempting to reach the wounded inside the Mosque and confiscated the key to several ambulances. IOF also surrounded al-Aqsa Mosque’s clinic while offering first aid to dozens of wounded persons and fired tear gas canisters at it.
IOF reentered the holy Mosque, and forced worshippers to evacuate, pushed and assaulted the women present in the area as well, causing clashed to reignite.
In a statement, the Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem, said that one of the mosque’s guards was hit in the eye by a rubber-coated metal bullet.
Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli police pursued the worshipers and beat them in the mosque’s courtyards.
For its part, the Israeli police announced in a statement that three of its members were slightly injured by stones thrown at them.
The police also noted in another statement that its forces removed the “rioters” in Al-Aqsa Mosque and arrested about 300 of them.
Thousands of worshipers were in the mosque where they were performing the morning prayer.
In an earlier statement, the police said that they intervened after stones were thrown at the Western Wall, known to Muslims as Buraq Wall.
The Palestinian presidency condemned the Israeli forces’ storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and called for “immediate international intervention against the Israeli attacks.”
Storming the mosque “is a dangerous development and desecration of sanctities, and it is tantamount to declaring a war on our Palestinian people,” Presidential Spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said in a statement carried by the official WAFA news agency.
Also, the Jerusalem Affairs Minister in the Palestinian Authority, Fadi al-Hadmi called on the international community to take action to put an end to the “Israeli violations.”
Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, called on Palestinians to come to the mosque to defend it and offer Friday prayers there.
Hamas condemned the Israeli “brutality,” with its political chief Ismail Haniyeh asserting that “the Palestinian people’s decision is to defend and protect Al-Aqsa Mosque at all costs.”
The Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine also condemned the Israeli storming of the mosque and called for international intervention to stop the Israeli escalation.
PCHR “strongly” condemned “IOF’s suppression of the Palestinian worshippers and raid and desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and its chapels as well as firing live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters inside it.” PCHR warned of the serious repercussions of the escalating violence and Israeli settlers’ conduct that is backed by IOF’s official protection.
Meanwhile, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has called for the withdrawal of the “occupation forces” from the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He also called for allowing worshipers to freely perform prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The European Union on Friday called for an immediate end to the violence in the occupied West Bank following Israeli attacks at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.
“Violence needs to stop immediately,” Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson of the EU’s diplomatic service, said in a statement.
* Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara
[Photo: Palestinian injured by Israeli forces during Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque and its compound during fajr prayers during holy month of Ramadan in East Jerusalem on April 15, 2022. Photojournalist :Mostafa Alkharouf/AA]
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