46 injured as clashes erupt between Palestinians, Israeli police at Aqsa Mosque
Dozens of people have sustained injuries after clashes broke out between Israeli military forces and Palestinians at al-Aqsa Mosque as thousands of Muslim worshippers entered the holy site in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds after abolition of the Tel Aviv regime’s restrictive measures.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported on Thursday that 46 people had been wounded both inside the mosque compound and in the immediate area.
Some were beaten and suffered fractured bones, while others were struck with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Israeli troopers also fired stun grenades and used pepper sprays, causing several Palestinians to cough and wheeze.
Thousands of Palestinians had earlier streamed into al-Aqsa Mosque for afternoon prayers after Israeli forced reopened all the gates to the compound.
A number of young men then scaled the mosque walls and raised the Palestinian national flag at the holy site. Israeli forces took down the flags shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Minister of Waqf (Endowment) and Religious Affairs Sheikh Yousef Id’es has called on Palestinians to hold Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque.
He said the Israeli regime’s decision to remove controversial new security measures, installed after the July 14 attack, clearly showed that Palestinians were capable of defending their legitimate right of sovereignty over Jerusalem al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque.
On July 14, three Palestinians opened fire on Israeli forces at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, killing two of them before being shot dead.
Id’es added that Palestinians must have religious freedom in Jerusalem al-Quds, and pray at al-Aqsa Mosque without the fear of getting arrested.
Israeli forces dismantled security measures installed at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound late on Wednesday night.
The measures, which included installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional surveillance cameras, had been imposed following the July 14 attack.
Palestinian worshippers have strongly condemned Israel’s new restrictive measures at al-Aqsa Mosque, engaging in bitter clashes with Israeli military forces.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshippers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.
The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.