AA / Jerusalem
Large numbers of Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem on Sunday and fanned out across its compound, in preparation for a settler incursion.
Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that dozens of police were deployed in the mosque’s esplanades shortly before the start of the settler invasion.
Israeli police beat a number of worshipers with truncheons, arresting one of them, chasing them into the esplanade and courtyard of the Dome of the Rock, to force them to evacuate the mosque.
Hundreds of worshipers chanted in Al Qibli’s covered prayer hall “God is great, thank God”.
Israeli police allow settlers daily, except Fridays and Saturdays, to raid the mosque compound in the mornings and afternoons after the end of the Muslim midday prayer.
But the Sunday storming takes on a special sensibility, given that it coincides with Passover, which began Friday evening and lasts for a week.
Settler groups have called for increased incursions during the Easter period.
The incursions of the settlers continue during the morning period, 3 hours and a half.
And the Israeli police had imposed, at dawn on Sunday, restrictions on the entry of the faithful to the mosque to perform the dawn prayer.
Eyewitnesses said police forced worshipers to hand over their identity cards at the gates of the mosque until the end of the prayer.
Separately, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said Sunday morning that its crews treated two Palestinians, one of whom was injured by a rubber-coated bullet while the other was beaten by Israeli police.
Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the two injured were trying to go to Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to perform the dawn prayer and that another worshiper was injured near Bab Huta, in the north wall of the mosque, after being assaulted by police as he was leaving the mosque.
For days, tension has reigned in the city of Jerusalem and in the mosque compound due to the incursion of settlers during the Jewish Passover holiday, which coincides with the month of Ramadan.
At dawn last Friday, Israeli police stormed the mosque, wounding dozens of Palestinians inside and arresting hundreds.
*Translated from Arabic by Hend Abdessamad
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