Israeli police storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, stoking fears of additional preventing

Apr 4, 2023 11:24 pm EDT / Up to date Apr 5, 2023 4:30 am EDT / Supply: Related Press

From The Related Press

JERUSALEM — Israeli police stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis early Wednesday and fired stun grenades at Palestinian youths who had been hurling firecrackers at them throughout a delicate vacation season. Gaza militants responded with rocket fireplace into southern Israel, prompting repeated Israeli airstrikes.

The preventing, which comes as Muslims mark the vacation month of Ramadan and Jews put together to begin Passover on Wednesday evening, has raised fears of a significant conflagration. Comparable clashes erupted two years in the past in an 11-day conflict between Israel and the ruling Gaza militant group Hamas. The Israeli army mentioned a soldier was shot lifeless in one other incident within the occupied West Financial institution.

The mosque sits on a delicate hilltop website sacred to each Jews and Muslims. Al-Aqsa is the third holiest website in Islam and is often filled with worshipers throughout Ramadan. The location identified to Jews because the Temple Mount can also be the holiest website in Judaism, which venerates it as the location of the Biblical Jewish Temples. The conflicting claims gasoline ongoing tensions which have resulted in violence quite a few instances up to now.

The official Palestinian information company Wafa mentioned dozens of believers who spent the evening in prayer had been injured within the police raid.

Palestinian media reported that police attacked Palestinian worshipers, elevating fears of larger stress as Islamic and Jewish holidays overlap. Mahmoud Illean/AP

Israel Police mentioned they moved in after “a number of law-breaking youths and masked agitators” introduced firecrackers, sticks and stones and barricaded themselves contained in the mosque. Police mentioned the youths chanted violent slogans and locked the entrance doorways.

“After many and lengthy makes an attempt to get them out by fruitless talks, the police forces had been pressured to enter the premises to get them out,” police mentioned.

A video launched by police confirmed the repeated explosions of firecrackers contained in the mosque. An beginner video taken by Palestinians confirmed police tussling with individuals and beating them with golf equipment and rifle butts, whereas a girl’s voice yelled, “Oh God. Oh God.”

Outdoors the gate, police dispersed teams of youths with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Police mentioned one officer was injured within the leg whereas about 350 individuals had been arrested. They launched photos of fireworks and not less than one giant rock that appeared to have been hurled.

Talab Abu Eisha, 49, mentioned greater than 400 males, ladies and youngsters had been praying in Al-Aqsa as police surrounded the mosque.

“The youths obtained scared and began closing the doorways,” he mentioned, including that police forces “stormed the east nook, beating and arresting males there.”

Israeli police lower energy and compelled Palestinians out of the mosque throughout prayers. Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Company by way of Getty Pictures

“It was an unprecedented scene of violence when it comes to police brutality and intent to harm the children,” he mentioned, denying police claims that younger males had been hiding firecrackers and stones. He added that on Wednesday morning police barred all males underneath the age of fifty from coming into the Outdated Metropolis gates resulting in the morning prayer website.

Palestinian militants responded by launching rocket fireplace from Gaza into southern Israel and triggering air raid sirens throughout the area as residents ready for the beginning of the week-long Passover vacation.

The Israeli army mentioned a complete of 5 rockets had been fired and all had been intercepted. Hours later, Israel responded with an airstrike in Gaza on alleged weapons manufacturing and storage amenities belonging to the Islamic militant group Hamas. Additional rocket fireplace and airstrikes continued after dawn.

Tensions have steadily elevated because the new far-right authorities of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took workplace late final 12 months. The federal government is dominated by non secular and ultranationalist hardliners, and the overlapping of Jewish and Muslim holidays – when tens of hundreds of believers make their option to embattled Jerusalem – has stoked fears of violence.

The police are headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultra-nationalist with a historical past of violent rhetoric and actions towards Palestinians.

Palestinian medics examine the harm within the first-aid room of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis early Wednesday. Ahmad Gharabli / AFP – Getty Pictures

In Gaza, Hamas known as large-scale protests and other people started to collect within the streets with requires extra violent demonstrations on the closely guarded Gaza-Israel border.

Palestinian militant teams Hamas and Islamic Jihad additionally known as on Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the West Financial institution and Israel to rally round Al-Aqsa Mosque and confront Israeli forces.

Ziyad al-Nakhala, chief of Islamic Jihad, mentioned the scenario in al-Aqsa was a “critical risk”.

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He mentioned the Palestinians have to be ready “for the inevitable confrontation within the coming days.”

Within the occupied West Financial institution, the Palestinian management condemned the assault on believers. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned Israel that such a transfer “crosses all purple traces and can result in a significant explosion.”

The Jordanian authorities, which acts as guardian of the mosque, “strongly” condemned the Israeli raid. The State Division warned “of the results of this harmful escalation and held Israel answerable for the safety of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

As violence unfold in Jerusalem, the Israeli army reported preventing in a Palestinian city within the occupied West Financial institution. Residents of Beit Umar, close to the fugitive metropolis of Hebron, had been mentioned to have burned tires, hurled rocks and explosives at troopers. A soldier was shot lifeless by armed suspects who managed to flee.

Earlier Tuesday, a Palestinian suspect stabbed two Israelis close to a military base south of Tel Aviv, police mentioned, the newest incident in a year-long spate of violence that exhibits no signal of abating.

The Muslim holy website was constructed on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest website. Ahmad Gharabli / AFP – Getty Pictures

Magen David Adom Ambulance mentioned first responders handled two males for critical and minor stab wounds within the incident on a freeway close to the Tzrifin army base. The boys had been taken to a close-by hospital for therapy.

Israeli media recognized the 2 victims as troopers.

Police mentioned civilians on the scene arrested the alleged attacker, who was taken into police custody for questioning.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has escalated within the final 12 months because the Israeli army has carried out near-night raids on Palestinian cities and villages and Palestinians have carried out quite a few assaults on Israelis.

In accordance with a tally by the Related Press, not less than 88 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fireplace this 12 months. Palestinian assaults on Israelis have killed 15 individuals in the identical interval.

Israel says a lot of the Palestinians killed had been militants. However stone-throwing youths and harmless bystanders had been additionally among the many lifeless. All however one of many Israeli lifeless had been civilians.