PCHR: “IOF Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, 153 Palestinians Wounded, including 3 Journalists and 3 Paramedics and At Least 400 Detained”

06:00 Apr 15 2022 Al-Aqsa Mosque and compound ( ٱلْمَسْجِد ٱلْأَقْصَىٰ‎ )

Scene inside al-Aqsa mosque. Published by IMEMC News

"Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday". Credit: Mahmoud Illean /AP Published by Haaretz

"The aftermath of clashes in al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday." Source: Israeli Police Published by Haaretz

Videos 1 and 2: Published by Haaretz

Video 3: "Fireworks being set off on the Temple Mount" Source: Israeli police Republished by Haaretz

Video 4: Published by Haaretz

Video 5: via @rashidatlaib, US Congressional representative

Video 6: "Israelis currently invading Al-Aqsa Mosque, firing bullets, sound grenades and tear gas at Palestinians",
via @khaledbeydoun, Law Professor

The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR):
Ref: 46/2022
Date: 15 April 2022
Time: 13:00 GMT

At least 153 Palestinians were wounded, including six in critical state, three journalists, and three paramedics, during the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raid and extensive attacks at dawn today on thousands of worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and its yards in occupied East Jerusalem. IOF launched a mass-arrest campaign after its breach into the holy mosque, at least 400 worshippers were arrested.

As per PCHR investigations, as al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates were opened and thousands of worshipers arrived for al-Fajir (dawn) prayers on Friday, 15 April 2022, the atmosphere was extremely tense due to the heavy IOF presence in the area, and on the rooftops near al-Silsila and al-Magharba gates.

Thousands of worshippers gathered and prayed; after al-Fajir prayer, young men prepared wooden roadblocks around the al-Qibli prayer hall in anticipation of a possible IOF raid.

They fired firecrackers towards al-Magharba gate where IOF stationed. Immediately, IOF raided the entire Mosque with hundreds of troops; the soldiers started shooting live bullets, tear gas canisters and stun grenades aggressively and randomly. As a result, dozens of worshipers and gathered civilians were wounded.

All the while, clashes erupted between young Palestinian men who threw stones and pieces of wood at IOF who continued to fire rubber-bullets, sounds bombs, and tear gas canisters; the latter also assaulted the worshipers all over the holy Mosque’s grounds and shut all pathways leading to the holy site, banning medical crews entry, and hindering ambulances’ access to Bab al-Asbat area to transport the wounded to hospitals.

IOF also attacked al-Aqsa Mosque guards, medical and media crews, and paramedics, with rubber-bullets, and clubs; IOF threatened the rescue crews attempting to reach the wounded inside the Mosque and confiscated the key to several ambulances. IOF also surrounded al-Aqsa Mosque’s clinic while offering first aid to dozens of wounded persons and fired tear gas canisters at it.

Earlier today, IOF troops mounted the roof of al-Qibli Mosque shattered the top windows, and installed snipers on top. They shot live bullets, rubber-bullets, and tear gas canisters inside the mosque where hundreds were worshiping and praying.

Minutes later, large numbers of IOF entered the mosque, and forced worshippers to lay down. The soldiers physically and violently assaulted the praying crown, and arrested hundreds. This is a precedent for IOF attacks on Palestinian worshippers.

The attacks and raid lasted for hours. At approximately 10:00, IOF took hundreds of hand-cuffed arrestees through al-Magharibah gate, searched, and inspected them near the Western Wall. Minutes later, IOF reentered the holy Mosque, and forced worshippers to evacuate, pushed and assaulted the women present in the area as well, causing clashed to reignite.

Meanwhile, settlers tried to raid al-Aqsa Mosque carrying sheep upon calls from settlement organizations to slaughter them for ritual sacrifices in the mosque, but the Israeli police stopped them.

Due to IOF’s widescale suppression operation that continued for hours, 152 Palestinians were injured and taken to al-Makassed Hospital and the Red Crescent field hospital as announced by the Red Crescent Society in Jerusalem. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ follow-up, 3 paramedics were among those injured; one was injured with a rubber bullet in the neck and the other 2 sustained fractures in their hands. Also, 3 journalists were wounded and identified as Mohammed al-Samarin, Nirseen Salem, who were both injured with rubber bullets, and photojournalist Rami al-Khatib, who sustained injuries in the head and hands after IOF severely beat him with batons.

Moreover, 2 of al-Aqsa guards were injured with rubber bullets in their eyes. Soliman Turkman, the Nursing Director at al-Makassed Hospital, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that at least 75 persons injured arrived at the hospital, including one in critical condition, 5 admitted to the Operating Room immediately, and 35 admitted to the hospital’s departments. Turkman added that injuries varied and included women, children, and elderlies.

Lawyer Feras al-Jabrini said that IOF arrested more than 400 Palestinians from al-Aqsa mosque; most of them were in al-Qibli Chapel and took them in buses from Bab al-Magharba area to Matsuda Adumim Interrogation Centre.

It should be noted that on Thursday afternoon, 14 April 2022, around 2000 worshippers performed I’tikaf in the Qibli Chapel in al-Aqsa Mosque despite IOF’s harassment and heavy deployment in the mosque yards, at its gates and around it to.

This was upon national calls to mobilize on Friday dawn, 15 April 2022, against settlers’ attempts to hold sacrifices after calls from settlement organizations for the Jewish Passover holiday, which start today and continue for a week, provoking extensive outrage among Palestinians. Therefore, the Israeli authorities announced to stop any sacrifice attempts.

PCHR strongly condemns IOF’s suppression of the Palestinian worshippers and raid and desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and its chapels as well as firing live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters inside it. PCHR warns of the serious repercussions of the escalating violence and settlers’ conduct that is backed by IOF’s official protection.

PCHR reiterates that East Jerusalem is an occupied city, and the Israeli authorities’ measures taken after the occupation of the City in 1967 would not change its legal status as an occupied territory.

PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations.

PCHR believes that the international community’s silence conspiracy encourages Israel to commit more violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including creating a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.

50,000 Palestinians Pray at Al-Aqsa After Morning Clashes With Israeli Police

Scores of Palestinians are injured and hundreds arrested in a rare breach by Israeli forces into Al-Aqsa Mosque after worshipers threw stones and set off fireworks during morning prayer

by Jack Khoury, Nir Hasson, and Josh Breiner for Haaretz
Apr. 15, 2022

Around 50,000 Muslims, half from the West Bank, arrived at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for noon prayers Friday, after a six-hour clash at the site between Palestinians and Israeli police, the worst skirmishes in Jerusalem since the month of Ramadan began on April 1.

At least 152 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas, eight of whom are in intensive care, according to the Red Crescent. The police reported that three officers were lightly injured.

Israel Police said they entered the compound after masked men, carrying Hamas and Palestinian Authority flags, threw stones and set off fireworks after prayer at 4 A.M. They noted that forces entered the compound only after prayer ended and that Palestinians continued throwing rocks and setting fireworks after police arrived.

In a rare move, Israeli officers entered Al-Aqsa Mosque itself after Palestinians threw stones at police forces from the entrance and barricaded themselves inside. Once inside, they blindfolded and handcuffed some of the detainees.

The police said they carried out an unusually high number of 470 arrests before reopening the compound for noon prayers on the second Friday of Ramadan. According to a senior official, the decision to enter the mosque to make the arrests was made in part to enable prayers to occur at noon.

The vast majority of the detainees were released on parole, with some forbidden from entering the Al-Aqsa compound until the end of Ramadan. On Saturday evening, around 30 detainees who remained in custody will face a hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on extending their detention.

Thousands of Palestinian youths stayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque overnight amid calls by religious Jewish groups to enter the compound on Friday to perform a Passover sacrifice, in violation of the so-called status quo agreements on religious practice at the site. The police believe that many of them hold Israeli citizenship, and arrived from northern Israel. A senior security official said that approximately 40 buses, likely organized by the Islamic movement's northern branch, brought them to the site.

In light of the morning's events, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an emergency security meeting on the situation in Jerusalem. At the meeting, police chief Kobi Shabtai said that officers at the scene did everything in their power to avoid entering the mosque. "We asked the Waqf guards to take care of the rioters and remove them from the mount, but unfortunately that didn't work," he said.

"Despite that, we allowed the morning prayers to go on, but even after that officers were attacked with rocks, stones and fireworks fired directly at them. This forced us to enter in order to disperse the rioters," he continued.

Following the events, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev stressed that Israel has "no interest in the Temple Mount becoming an epicenter of violence that will hurt both Muslim worshipers there and Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall."

"We have said time and again that we will do the maximum to allow freedom of worship at the Temple Mount and that reality hasn't changed. The officers there are acting bravely in these complex circumstances, as they deal with violent people who gathered rocks and iron rods in order to hurt the freedom of worship on the mount and at the Western Wall," he added.

Threats from militants, threats from coalition

Several groups across Israel and the Palestinian territories swiftly condemned the entry of security forces into the mosque.

In a statement, Hamas said: "We condemn the barbaric aggression of the occupation soldiers against the worshipers in Al-Aqsa. Our brothers in Jerusalem are not alone in the fight for Al-Aqsa. We call on the masses in the West Bank and within the Green Line to stand by our brother in Jerusalem." The Islamic Jihad echoed the sentiment, warning that unless Israel "lifted its aggressive hand from Al-Aqsa Mosque, confrontation will be sooner and stronger."

The United Arab List, the Islamic party in the coalition government, condemned the entrance of police into the compound. "I've passed on the message to the political leadership and the police: The continued damage to Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line for us, also regarding the stability of the coalition," UAL chairman Mansour Abbas said on the radio. "There are no political considerations when it comes to Al-Aqsa."

Another UAL lawmaker, Mazen Ghanayim, sent Prime Minister Naftali Bennett a letter threatening to leave the coalition unless security forces stopped operating in the Al-Aqsa mosque. "A government which behaves in this way has no right to exist," Ghanayim said, and called on Bennett to calm the situation.

The Palestinian Presidency's Office dubbed the actions of Israel Police as "a serious escalation and a declaration of war" and called on international intervention, while the official statement from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry took the events as proof that "Bennett's government is lying about its intention to maintain the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that the Israeli government strives to split the mosque and Judaize the city."

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry, too, said that Israel "held full responsibility" for the incident, and called on Israeli security presence to withdraw from the mosque.

Earlier this week, Palestinian organizations slammed calls by right-wing activists urging Jews to come to the Temple Mount on Friday with a kid goat in order to perform the Passover sacrifice. On Friday, Israel Police detained two Jews who were on their way to ritually slaughter a kid goat. A further man was detained at his home in Jerusalem on Thursday, while others who had published the calls were also detained. Meanwhile, the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust responsible for the compound, stopped two people they suspected of being Jews in disguise but turned out to be Muslim.

Since Thursday, 11 Jews have been arrested on suspicion of planning to sacrifice a goat on the Temple Mount. Three goats have been confiscated.

The IDF announced Thursday that a curfew will be imposed on Palestinians in the West Bank during the Passover holiday starting Friday at 4:00 P.M. until Sunday.

Palestinians are permitted to attend Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa compound but will have to return to the West Bank by the time the closure begins. The possibility of extending the lockdown throughout the week is still being discussed.

Yaniv Kubovich, Hagar Shezaf and Michael Hauser-Tov contributed to this article.

Israeli forces entered mosque 4/15/2022
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