JERUSALEM: As video of armed police striking worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has appeared online, shock and indignation are growing.
Tensions rose after Israeli police attacked Palestinians inside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, on Wednesday, drawing international condemnation and concern.
According to Israeli officials, they were trying to arrest law-breaking minors who barricaded themselves inside the compound.
Two more rockets were fired by Israel from the Gaza Strip late Wednesday, the military and witnesses said, and fresh clashes broke out at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the Jewish Passover and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Armed police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque prayer hall before dawn on Wednesday, aiming to remove law-breaking youths and masked rioters they said had barricaded themselves inside. Police footage shows officers were greeted with stones and fireworks and more than 350 people were detained.
Jerusalem, UN chief shocked and dismayed by Al-Aqsa mosque incident Images of Israeli security forces killing people in a mosque shocked and horrified UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to his spokesman. This is especially true given that it happened at a time that is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims and should be a time of peace.
According to White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, the United States is deeply concerned by the continued violence and urges all parties to avoid further escalation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is trying to mend the country’s relations with Israel, declared that trampling the Al-Aqsa Mosque is our red line.
Later that day, as worshipers gathered for evening prayers, dozens of law-breaking youths, some of them masked, set off fireworks and threw stones and once again entered the mosque, according to Israeli police. tried to
According to the police, the officers stopped and dispersed the “violent rioters” and allowed the worshipers to leave. An AFP reporter saw Israeli security personnel blocking the entrance to the mosque.
Israel blamed “violent rioters”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted as saying that Israel was creating an atmosphere of instability and tension, adding that police stormed a mosque and attacked worshipers on Wednesday night.
Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has escalated since the new government of veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in December.
Abdul Karim Ikraim, a 74-year-old Palestinian eyewitness, said Israeli police “forcefully stormed” the mosque early Wednesday morning and beat “women and men” praying there with batons, tear gas grenades and smoke bombs.
In footage that went viral on social media, police were seen gathering people on the floor of the mosque. The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had treated 37 people.
Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gower expressed full support for the police and their swift and decisive actions.
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, has called on Palestinians in the West Bank to “go together to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque”. The mosque in Israel-annexed East Jerusalem is built atop what Jews call the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. It has been a recurring flashpoint, and similar raids in May 2021 sparked the latest Gaza war, which lasted 11 days.
Response from Gaza
Tires were set on fire by protesters in Gaza as they vowed to defend and protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque. At least nine rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel within hours of the initial clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque, according to the military, which added that warplanes had targeted two suspected Hamas arms manufacturing sites.
According to AFP journalists, fresh rockets were fired from Gaza and additional Israeli strikes followed the airstrikes.
Witnesses reported two more rockets fired from northern Gaza later on Wednesday. According to Israel, one launch “failed” and landed in Gaza, while the other “landed on the border towards the security fence.”
Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh condemned the Israeli police action inside Al-Aqsa, adding that the level of brutality required urgent Palestinian, Arab and international action.
Germany requested both sides to do everything possible to defuse the situation.
The Arab League called an emergency meeting after condemning the attack on loyalists.
Jordan, the man in charge of the mosque, condemned the storming by Israeli forces and demanded that they immediately vacate the area.
The UAE and Morocco established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, according to US-brokered agreements. Both countries strongly condemned the action of the Israeli police.
In a statement, the UAE foreign minister ruled out any such move.