UDATE 2 – Hundreds of Palestinians injured as Israeli police storm Al-Aqsa

Israeli police on Monday stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and attacked the Palestinians who were on guard to prevent raids by extremist Jews.

In a statement, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that 215 Palestinians were injured in Israeli police attacks. It added that 153 people, including some of seriously wounded, were taken to hospitals for treatment.

The agency earlier said that some of its employees were prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces attacked journalists at Al-Aqsa Mosque as they were covering events at the holy site, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter on the ground.

Thousands of Palestinians staged protests inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, after performing the dawn prayers there. The Palestinians then stayed there to guard the mosque from the raids of extremist Jews.

Setting up barricades at some points of Haram al-Sharif, the main building of Al-Aqsa, they chanted slogans for the mosque and said they would not leave there.

Israeli police then raided the mosque and used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades in clashes with the Palestinians, who responded by throwing stones.

– Religious war against Palestinians

Hamas group, in turn, said Israel was waging a “religious war against Palestinian worshipers” in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

“What is happening inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the time of storming and assaulting worshipers is a proof on the brutality of the Zionist occupation,” Muhammad Hamadeh, the movement’s spokesman for the city of Jerusalem, said.

He called on the Palestinians to “remain steadfast and prevent settlers from entering Al-Aqsa.”

The Hamas spokesman held Israel responsible for its “incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” saying: “The occupation will pay a heavy price.”

Extremist Jews decided to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque to celebrate the anniversary of the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem, as “Jerusalem Day” according to the Hebrew calendar.

Extremist Jewish organizations had called for raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday and Monday to mark the day.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.

Source: Anadolu Agency