Clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters on Friday, April 15, in the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. At least 152 Palestinians were injured in the attack. Police have also detained hundreds of Palestinians. Earlier, Israeli extremists entered al-Aqsa compound despite restrictions.
Like last Ramadan, a major Israeli-Palestinian conflict is expected this Ramadan. The renewed escalation of tensions came with an announcement by Israeli settlers. In the announcement, the settlers said that they would celebrate their annual big festival ‘Passover’ on April 15 (Friday) at Al-Aqsa premises. Many Palestinians see the announcement as an attempt to provoke a sensitive atmosphere in the holy site.
Nasser al-Hidami, a Jerusalem-based political analyst, said no such Jewish celebration had taken place in the Al-Aqsa compound since ancient times. The office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the festival would not be held at the Al-Aqsa compound.
The Aqsa Mosque or Baitul Muqaddas is the third holiest place for Muslims around the world. And to the Jews it is known as Temple Mount. They also consider it as one of their holy places.
Israeli police say a group of protesters hurled stones at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday. They entered there to disperse them. 300 people were detained. But Palestinian sources say more than 400 Palestinians have been detained.
Witnesses say members of the Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets at Palestinian protesters. Protesters also hurled stones at Israeli forces.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said most of the wounded had been taken to hospital, adding that al-Aqsa had been shot in the eye by a security guard. Israeli forces also barred ambulances and paramedics from entering the mosque compound. It is difficult to rescue the injured.
Israeli police say they broke into a mosque to disperse a “violent” crowd of Palestinians after Friday’s Fajr prayers.
However, an eyewitness, a Palestinian photographer, said Israeli forces had launched a “brutal operation” and evacuated the mosque compound. They attacked mosque workers, ordinary people, young people and even the elderly. Throw rubber bullets. Beaten up. Many were injured. Police did not even release the doctors.
On the other hand, 36 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since January. This was stated by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Two were killed last Thursday in Jenin. At that time, the Palestinians attacked near the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Beni Barek. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces killed a 14-year-old boy and a lawyer in the West Bank.
The beginning of the conflict is also coming from the side of PIJ. On April 10, a spokesman for the group warned that if Israeli forces continued to attack Jenin’s refugee camp, a final response would be forthcoming.
Hazem Qasim, a spokesman for Hamas, a pro-independence Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, said the situation was likely to escalate again. He said Hamas would not sit idly by if Israeli illegal settlers continued to show their intolerance towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Meanwhile, Hamas on Thursday called on Palestinians to unite in order to prevent Israeli forces from entering the West Bank and Al-Aqsa Mosque.