Israeli police storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, detain 350 Palestinians

JERUSALEM : The Israeli police on Wednesday said they detained 350 Palestinians from the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

The detainees include “masked men, and those who threw stones and fireworks.”

The Commission for Palestinian Prisoners Affairs said the police began to release the detainees on the condition that they be removed from Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City in Jerusalem for a week.

A group of Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall in the complex after Jewish settlers called for a raid on the mosque.

They attempted to prevent police from entering by closing its doors.

Surrounding the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall, Israeli police went up to the roof of the mosque, smashed some of the windows and initially intervened with sound bombs against the worshippers inside. Some of the people in the mosque tried to resist the police by throwing fireworks.

The police then entered the prayer hall and fired a barrage of sound bombs, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said seven Palestinians were injured from rubber-tipped bullets and police beatings.

Israeli forces and Jewish settlers frequently carry out raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque to provoke Palestinians.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents Islam’s third-holiest site. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community. — AA

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