Middle East

Hundreds of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex in Jerusalem

Many Palestinians were injured after Israeli police fired rubber bullets at them and detained 51 Muslims, including an Algerian-origin French Muslim, while guarding hundreds of Israeli settlers that invaded the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

On the occasion of Israel’s foundation anniversary, Israeli settlement groups have called for a large-scale incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the world’s third holiest site for Muslims.

Jews call the area the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which oversees holy sites in Jerusalem, said in a statement that over 600 settlers stormed the site in groups under heavy police protection and remained within the compound for more than three hours.

Yomtob Kalfon, a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) from the Yamina party, and Yehuda Glick, a former Knesset member from the Likud party, were among those who stormed the Mosque.

READ: Israel readying itself for rising tensions as settlers storm Al-Aqsa

During the incident, Israeli settlers attempted to raise the Israeli flag twice, while scores of them chanted the Israeli national anthem, according to eyewitnesses.

They said Israeli police beat worshippers and fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them in the Qibli Mosque, which is located within the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where scores of worshippers were present at the time.

“Our crews provided first aid to two injuries from Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a result of the beatings, and they were transferred to Al-Makassed Hospital for treatment,” the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.

The Islamic Waqf Department added that the Israeli police detained 50 Palestinians and the Algerian-origin French national who was attacked in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

A video clip circulating the social media shows Israeli policemen holding the Algerian citizen, whose name was not revealed, outside the Mosque after they removed her headscarf.

The Israeli police, for their part, claimed in a statement that dozens of people shouted “incitement calls” and threw stones at them.

“A policeman was slightly injured,” it added.

READ: Palestine urges UNSC to stop Israel escalations

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