Israel forces raid Aqsa compound, 15 Palestinians detained, 55 injuries; 2 police officers "slightly injured"

12:00 Sep 6 2013 al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem

ERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces raided the al-Aqsa mosque compound after Friday prayers and fired stun grenades and pepper spray at Palestinian worshipers, a Ma'an reporter observed.

Plainclothes policemen entered the compound and deployed in al-Aqsa's square, surrounding the al-Qabali mosque where Palestinian worshipers were gathered.

Palestinian men started throwing stones at the forces who blocked their way out of the mosque.

One of the worships stuck at the mosque said that Israeli forces sprayed pepper spray intensively toward Palestinians, causing light injuries.

Al-Aqsa medical official Adnan Khanafseh said 55 injuries were treated.

Photojournalist Suleiman Khader and medics Wisam Hamouda, Fouad Obeid, and Tahadi Toukhali were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets. Two women were struck with stun grenade shrapnel, he added.

Fifteen Palestinian stone-throwers were arrested, Israeli authorities said. Among them were Ahmad Fakhouri, 18, Loay Natsheh, and Arafat Fakhouri, according to Khanafseh, the medical official.

Israeli police said they were at the scene to disperse a "disturbance on the Temple mount."

"Masked Palestinians threw stones at police officers that were on site," Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an. He said police responded using "only stun grenades in order to deal with the disturbances."

He said two police officers were lightly injured.

A day earlier around 40 rightists entered the mosque through the Moroccan gate under heavy guard. They were there to celebrate the Jewish New Year, an official said.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director of Jerusalem endowments and al-Aqsa affairs, told Ma’an that Israeli police allowed the extremists to enter the mosque in groups.

He noted that one of the groups contained 25 "settlers," including rabbis.

Witnesses said that rabbis were wearing white “Temple clothes” which worshipers considered provocative.
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