Israeli police assault worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque

JERUSALEM: Israeli police attacked worshippers contained in the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem early Wednesday as police mentioned that they had entered to dislodge “agitators”, a transfer denounced as an “unprecedented crime” by Hamas.

Hamas referred to as on Palestinians within the West Financial institution “to go en masse to the Al-Aqsa mosque to defend it”.

Israeli police mentioned that they had entered the mosque to dislodge “agitators” who had barricaded themselves inside with fireworks, sticks and stones.

The mosque compound within the Israeli-annexed Outdated Metropolis of east Jerusalem has beforehand seen violence, significantly throughout Ramadan, which pulls tens of 1000’s of worshippers to Al-Aqsa.

The contemporary violence comes practically midway via Ramadan and as Jews put together to have fun Passover from Wednesday night.

Israeli police contained in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, early on April 5, 2023 after clashes erupted: Picture: AFP

A police video exhibits riot police with shields advancing via the mosque beneath a barrage of fireworks explosions.

The footage then exhibits a barricaded door and bins of fireworks on the ground, in addition to police escorting not less than 5 individuals exterior with their palms cuffed behind their backs.

Rockets fired

Israeli police mentioned they have been pressured to enter the mosque after “a number of law-breaking youths and masked agitators” barricaded themselves inside.

“These instigators fortified it, hours after the (final night) Taraweeh prayer with the intention to disrupt public order and desecrate the mosque,” the police mentioned in a press release.

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“After many and extended makes an attempt to get them out by speaking to no avail, police forces have been pressured to enter the compound with the intention to get them out with the intentions to permit the Fajr (daybreak) prayer and to stop a violent disturbance,” they added.

“When the police entered, stones have been thrown at them and fireworks have been fired from contained in the mosque by a big group of agitators,” they continued, including that one officer was injured within the leg by a stone.

Police “detained the rioters”, who “precipitated harm to the mosque and desecrated it”, the assertion mentioned, with out specifying the variety of individuals detained.

After the announcement of the clashes at Al-Aqsa, a number of rockets have been fired from the northern Gaza Strip in direction of Israeli territory, based on AFP journalists and witnesses.

AFP journalists mentioned they noticed three rockets fired from afar and witnesses mentioned they noticed others, whereas the Israeli military reported rocket warning sirens had been triggered in a number of Israeli city centres across the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military mentioned 5 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have been intercepted by the aerial defence system round Sderot in southern Israel, and that 4 others had fallen in uninhabited areas.

The air raids have been adopted by new rocket hearth from the Gaza Strip, and at round 6:15 am (0415 GMT), Israeli jets carried out assaults, based on AFP journalists.

No accidents have been reported after the primary collection of raids.

“We swear to defend and shield the Al-Aqsa mosque,” they mentioned.

Males clear the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis following clashes early on April 5, 2023. Picture: AFP

Egypt condemned the Israeli police’s “storming” of the mosque and “the accompanying blatant assaults” on worshippers.

“Egypt holds Israel, the occupying energy, chargeable for this harmful escalation which may undermine the truce efforts wherein Egypt is engaged with its regional and worldwide companions,” the international ministry mentioned in a press release.

The conflict has been sucked right into a spiral of violence for the reason that begin of the 12 months after one of the crucial right-wing governments in Israel’s historical past took workplace on the finish of December.

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The battle has claimed the lives of not less than 91 Palestinians, 15 Israelis and one Ukrainian since January, based on an AFP tally primarily based on official sources from each side.