Al-Aqsa Mosque: more than 100 wounded as Israeli police uses tear gas on worshippers

Palestinians are kept at bay by Israeli Border Police officers (AFP)

Rosie Scammell

The National  /  April 15, 2022

The violence is reminiscent of clashes a year ago that preceded an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants.

More than 100 Palestinians were wounded on Friday in clashes with Israeli security forces at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, medics said, after weeks of violence in which several people were killed in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

The violence at the third holiest site in Islam, which is also revered in Judaism, comes during the holy month of Ramadan and before the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said 117 people were hurt at Al-Asqsa Mosque.

“There are attacks against our staff … on medical personnel and ambulances. There’s denied access to reach victims,” a spokesperson for the medical organization told The National.

Israeli police denied the medic’s account and said “the only ones injured are police officers hurt by aggressive rock-throwing at them”.

The force said hundreds of people were “disrupting the public order” at the site, in Jerusalem’s Old City, and some had barricaded themselves inside the mosque.

Stones littered the complex while heavily armed police used weapons such as stun grenades against people at the site.

Such scenes are reminiscent of violence at Al-Aqsa a year ago that preceded the 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants.

Friday’s violence comes after Israeli forces killed at least 12 Palestinians in the West Bank during the past week. Those killed include alleged militants, a child accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail, and an unarmed woman.

Over the past month, 14 people have been killed in attacks in Israel that were carried out by Israeli Palestinians or Palestinians from the West Bank.

The situation in Jerusalem was relatively calm over the same period, with Israeli security forces arresting some Palestinians at the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

Separately, police arrested four people and uncovered a goat on Thursday after reports that radical Israelis intended to carry out an animal sacrifice at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Jews are allowed to visit but not pray or carry out religious ceremonies at the site. A notice offering financial rewards to anyone who sacrificed a sheep or goat at the compound was posted on Facebook.

Rosie Scammell – Jerusalem correspondent