At least 305 people were injured as Israeli police on Monday stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem and attacked Palestinians who were on guard to prevent raids by extremist Jews.
In a statement, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that 228 people were taken to hospitals for treatment, with seven of them being in critical condition.
Meanwhile, Israeli police withdrew from the holy site after a 4-hour raid during which Israeli forces attacked Palestinian worshippers with tear gas, plastic bullets and sound bombs.
Israeli forces reopened the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque shortly after withdrawal from the site, according to Anadolu Agency’s correspondent.
During the police raid, 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.
Anadolu Agency’s photographer Fayez Abu Rumaila was assaulted by Israeli forces as he was following the situation inside Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Mustafa Kharouf, the agency’s photojournalist, was also injured in the chest with a rubber bullet. He was taken to hospital for treatment.
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 against raids by 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 have called for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday to celebrate the anniversary of the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem, as “Jerusalem Day” according to the Hebrew calendar.
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