Nearly 20 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces in al-Aqsa Mosque
Nearly 20 Palestinians were injured Sunday during clashes with Israeli forces at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City.
Israeli forces attacked Palestinian worshipers with batons to push them out of the compound after hundreds of Israeli settlers gathered there on the previous night to commemorate the Jewish fasting holy day of Ninth of Av.
A doctor at the compound’s medical clinic said Israeli forces interrogated him to identify three of the injured Palestinians who were taken to a hospital for treatment after being beaten by Israeli forces.
Two of those Palestinians were identified as Nasser Qawas, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society in Jerusalem al-Quds, and his son Jihad.
Witnesses said over 300 Israeli settlers were performing rituals inside the compound in violation of an agreement that bars non-Muslims from acts of worship at the site. Israeli authorities claimed a group of “foreign and non-Muslim” visitors had entered the compound.
Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of al-Aqsa Mosque compound, said Israeli forces had enforced tight security measures around the compound, but the settlers gathered at the site under armed escort on Sunday morning.
“We deny Israel’s claim that these raids are just visits and tourism. Israeli settlers are constantly raiding al-Aqsa Mosque compound to provoke the Muslim worshipers by practicing prayers and rituals in a holy place for Muslims only,” Kiswani said, adding, “Israel is violating all international regulations by its procedures in al-Aqsa compound.”
According to the agreement signed between the Tel Aviv regime and the Jordanian government after Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967, visits to the compound by Jews are permitted but non-Muslim worship is prohibited.
The Israeli regime, however, regularly allows Jewish visitors to enter the site despite the deal.
In a separate incident, the Israeli military on Saturday evening attacked the village of Talfit, south of the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, and nabbed two Palestinians after breaking into a number of homes.
The occupied Palestinian territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
More than 220 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.