Israeli police today stormed Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and assaulted Palestinian Muslim worshippers.
Witnesses told WAFA that thousands of Palestinians rallied at the mosque compound following the Fajr Prayer, chanting slogans slamming Israeli intrusions into the site.
They added that scores of police officers who stormed the site chased and assaulted the worshippers, inflicting bruises and contusions to dozens, including the elderly.
Police opened fire towards the worshippers participating in the rally, injuring at least five with rubber-coated steel bullets.
Local sources confirmed that the casualties received medical treatment at the scene.
Police also sealed off Bab al-Asbat, which leads to the holy site, and hindered worshippers’ access to the site through Bab Hutta.
The rally came in line with calls for worshippers to en masse participate in the Fajr Prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque and Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in protest of settler’ intrusions and Israeli schemes to Judaize them.
Messianic Jewish settlers are hoping to establish an increased presence on the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque, among the most important Muslim shrines in the world and potent symbols of Palestinian nationalism, and calling for building a third temple on what they term the Temple Mount.
Their far-right beliefs were once considered a small fringe movement, but in recent years, they have found favor in the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, receiving the endorsement of many lawmakers.
Settlers incursions into the mosque compound coupled with the takeover of church property in Jerusalem are perceived as part of the plan to transform a multi-religious and multi-cultural city into a reunified Jewish city under the exclusive control and sovereignty of Israel.
Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency