17 Palestinians injured as Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
At least 17 Palestinians were injured by Israeli police early on Sunday at Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, as hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the Muslim holy site.
"This was the first round of storming that settlers have been preparing for the Jewish Passover," Sheikh Omar Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told The New Arab.
A video documenting the moment that occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning pic.twitter.com/uXeTIDpV6I— AlQastal News (@QastalNewsEn) April 17, 2022
"More than 200 police officers raided al-Aqsa compound and surrounded the mosque," he said. "They fired rubber bullets at worshipers in the courtyards and forced everybody out, except a small number of young worshipers inside the mosque who remained locked in."
According to Kiswani, some 545 Israeli Jewish settlers then entered the courtyards of Al-Aqsa compound and performed Jewish prayers.
During the raid, Israeli police arrested at least three Palestinians, according to Amjad Abu Asab, the spokesperson for the Jerusalem detainees' families committee.
"Israeli police then imposed restrictions on entering the compound," he told The New Arab. "Only people above 50 years old are allowed in, and many, including myself, have been given special police orders to stay far from Al-Aqsa."
Late on Saturday, Israeli police released 18 Palestinian teenagers, who were arrested from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque during a morning raid on the holy site, which saw Israeli forces breaking windows and throwing stun grenades into the mosque.
Israeli occupation forces forcibly expelled Palestinians peacefully praying during the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning. pic.twitter.com/aR2fr8CIQE— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) April 17, 2022
Late on Saturday, Palestinians took part in protests against Israeli raids of Al-Aqsa in Nazareth, north of Israel, where nine Palestinians were arrested by Israeli police, according to Palestinian media.
In Ramallah, central West Bank, hundreds of Palestinian marched at night protesting the raids of Al-Aqsa and recent killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protesters in Hebron, south of the West Bank.
Israeli settler organisations had announced plans to perform Jewish Passover sacrifices in the Al-Aqsa compound this week, which raised fears of a new confrontation with Palestinian factions in the besieged Gaza Strip.
On Saturday, the Hamas politburo member in exile, Khaled Mishaal, said in a conference he spoke at in Doha that Egyptian mediators have held exchanges between his movement's leadership in Gaza and Israel, in order to avoid a new escalation.
In Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas postponed a meeting that was scheduled for Sunday night, to discuss the latest tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem.