Israeli Forces Use Stun Grenades in Clashes With Palestinians Inside Al-Aqsa Mosque

00:00 Apr 5 2023 al-Aqsa Mosque ( (ٱلْـجَـامِـع الْأَقْـصّى, al-Qibly)

Palestinians sort through the aftermath of a raid by Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem early on Wednesday. Credit: Mahmoud Illean /AP Published by Haaretz

Several hundred Ramadan worshippers barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with police eventually using stun grenades to clear out the mosque, seven Palestinians reported injured ■ Palestinian teen shot by police after attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail into an Israeli security vehicle patrolling the Silwan neighborhood

by Nir Hasson, Josh Breiner, Deiaa Haj Yahia, Jack Khoury and Reuters for Haaretz
Apr 4, 2023
Updated: Apr 5, 20235:51 pm IDT

Israeli police and riot-control units clashed with Palestinian worshippers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque overnight on Wednesday, arresting around 400 according to police sources and injuring seven according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Three of the injured were hit with rubber bullets, the Red Crescent added.

Throughout the night, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel and the IDF attacked targets in the strip in response early Wednesday morning. An Israeli soldier was also injured during the night in a shooting attack in a village north of Hebron, the military spokesperson said.

The clashes occurred after several hundred Muslim worshippers had barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque after Ramadan prayers.

After roughly an hour, police began to clear out the worshippers peacefully. However, a dozen or so masked worshippers remained inside the mosque, with reports of riot police using stun grenades to clear out the area. The Palestinian Red Crescent said 19 worshipers were injured in the clashes, three of whom were taken to hospital. It added that Israeli forces were preventing its medics from reaching the mosque.

Israeli police said in a statement that it was forced to enter the compound after masked agitators locked themselves inside the mosque with fireworks, sticks and stones.

"When the police entered, stones were thrown at them and fireworks were fired from inside the mosque by a large group of agitators," the statement said, adding that a police officer was wounded in the leg.

Palestinian groups condemned Israel's attacks on worshippers, which they described as a crime.

"We warn the occupation against crossing red lines at holy sites, which will lead to a big explosion," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Jordan and Egypt, both involved in recent U.S.-backed efforts to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, issued separate statements condemning the incident.

Saudi Arabia also condemned the Israeli police's actions, with its foreign ministry putting out a statement saying it undermines peace efforts.

The Arab League said in a statement that "The extremist approaches that control the policy of the Israeli government will lead to widespread confrontations with the Palestinians if they are not put to an end."

The United Arab Emirates additionally issued a statement denouncing the Israeli police's decision to breach the compound.

The U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs also responded to the incident, saying “Violence has no place in a holy site and during a holy season. [The United States is] alarmed by the shocking scenes in Al-Aqsa Mosque and rockets launched from Gaza toward Israel. We call for restraint and de-escalation to allow peaceful worship and to protect the sanctity of the holy sites."

Hamas had earlier called for Muslims to seal themselves in Al-Aqsa Mosque to prevent Jewish worshippers from sacrificing a goat for Passover, which begins on Wednesday.

The calls by messianic Jewish activists undermine the longstanding and fragile religious status-quo at the Al-Aqsa Compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which permits Jewish presence but not worship.

Earlier in the night, a 15-year-old Palestinian teen was shot by Israeli border police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, and is reported to be in stable condition.

According to the police, the teen and several other Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, while trying to damage an Israeli vehicle patrolling the neighborhood while keeping watch over Israeli settlers’ homes. “At a certain point” a police statement noted, “some of the attackers tried to open the car door with the intention of throwing a Molotov cocktail inside the vehicle.” As a result, police officers opened fire, hitting the teen.

Israeli forces invaded the Mosque, wounding Muslim worshipers, damaging facilities, and detaining hundreds 4/4/2023
Israel bombards Gaza in response to rockets from Gaza after Israeli forces invade al-Aqsa mosque 4/5/2023
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