Israel clamps down on Palestinian worshippers

TEHRAN, Apr. 16 (MNA) – Israeli security forces were in full swing on Friday, firing on peaceful worshipers and arresting some of them at the second-holiest site in Islam.

Hundreds of Israeli armed troops stormed Al Aqsa Mosque in al-Quds and attacked worshippers with stun grenades, tear gas, and rubber and metal bullets.

The outbreak of violence began when Israeli forces broke into the holy mosque of Al Aqsa and started firing on the worshippers, which resulted in more than 150 injuries among them. The Palestinian Red Crescent in Jerusalem reported that its teams dealt with 153 injuries in the confrontations that took place inside the courtyards of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinian organization noted that a number of attacks on its crews were recorded, including impeding access to the injured, direct attacks on them, and attacking ambulances.

The Israeli troops went on the rampage and caused damage to the mosque on Friday morning. But the Israeli violence did not intimidate the Palestinian worshippers into giving up on their plan to hold Friday prayer at the mosque. 

After cleaning the mosque from the wreckage caused by the Israeli troops, Palestinian worshippers rushed to the mosque for prayer. 

In addition to wreaking havoc on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli security forces arrested more than 400 Palestinian worshippers in the holy site. 

The raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque come against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the West Bank. Just hours before the outbreak of violence at the holy mosque, a Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. Palestine’s official news agency WAFA reported that 17-year-old Shawkat Kamal Abed succumbed to his injuries sustained from Israeli military gunfire in Kafr Dan town, northwest of Jenin.

The dramatic scenes of violence in Jerusalem caused uproar in the West Asia region and the whole Muslim world, given the holiness of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. 

Locally, the Palestinian presidency called for urgent international intervention to prevent things from going out of control. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, described the Israeli raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Israeli police break-into al-Qibli prayer hall, a 1000-year-old domed building, as “a serious development, an act of sacrilege, and it is tantamount to declaring war on our Palestinian people.”

“Immediate intervention by the international community is needed to halt this Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevent things from going out of control,” he added, according to WAFA.

Regionally, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi stressed the need to stop all illegal and provocative Israeli measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to respect the rights of worshipers to practice their religious rites freely and without restrictions.

The Jordanian foreign minister denounced the Israeli provocation as a “dangerous and condemnable escalation that threatens to explode the situation.”

Iran has also strongly reacted to the events unfolding in Jerusalem, condemning Israel’s “shameless desecration of the sacred places.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh strongly condemned the Zionists’ shameless desecration of the sacred places in Palestine during the holy month of Ramadan and their raid on fasting worshippers in the al-Aqsa Mosque. Khatibzadeh warned against the continuation of brutal and terrorist acts of the occupiers in al-Quds and occupied Palestine, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement. 

Referring to the beating and injury of Palestinian worshippers by the occupation troops, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said the crimes of Zionists against the oppressed people of Palestine indicate the regime’s increasing weakness which it seeks to cover up with a show of its hollow clout in the face of a number of defenseless worshippers.

Internationally, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the attacks on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and considered it an insult to the feelings of the entire Islamic Ummah.

“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ storming of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, closing its gates, and attacking worshipers inside and in its courtyards,” the OIC said in a statement, adding that it “considers this dangerous escalation an attack on the feelings of the entire Islamic Ummah and a flagrant violation of international resolutions and covenants.”

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 185755


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