RAMALLAH – A large Israeli police force raided this morning Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s old city and attacked Palestinian worshippers, according to witnesses.
An immense number of policemen forced their way into the mosque compound, stationing themselves in central areas, mainly in the courtyards of the Dome of the Rock, and making their way to al-Qibli Mosque and the Bab al-Rahma prayer area, attempting to force everyone towards the exits with indiscriminate use of gunfire and tear gas, said WAFA news agency.
They also stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque Director’s Office and the clinic and kicked everyone out as snipers occupied the rooftops of the buildings inside the flashpoint site.
Police arrested a number of injured Palestinians while forcing them out of the holy site through Bab al-Asbat.
Director of the Mosque, Sheikh Omar Kiswani, described the police storming as “unprecedented” while calling on the international community to bring the Israeli aggression to an end.
Witnesses confirmed that police, some mounted on horses, violently attacked hundreds of Palestinians cleared out of the mosque compound throughout the Old City, showering them with skunk water and causing a number of fainting and suffocation cases.
Despite the police crackdown, police failed to secure an intrusion into the site by extremist Jewish groups, who vowed to enter the holy compound as they mark the anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem in June 1967.