Israel forces assault, block worshippers from entering Al-Aqsa for Friday dawn prayers

Israel forces assault, block worshippers from entering Al-Aqsa for Friday dawn prayers
Israeli forces have continued their assault on Al-Aqsa worshippers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, beating and chasing them down as they attempted to enter the mosque compound for dawn prayers on Friday.
2 min read
07 April, 2023
Israeli forces have carried out multiple raids at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound since Ramadan began just over a fortnight ago [Getty]

Israeli forces assaulted worshippers on Friday at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem as they attempted to enter the Muslim holy site for dawn prayers.

Israeli police at Al-Aqsa's gates chased and beat a number of young men as they tried to enter the compound, video from the scene shows.

In the video, the men can be heard chanting "We will sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, Aqsa".

Police officers also assaulted stall owners and street vendors based close to the Bab Hutta gate, eyewitnesses told Arabi 21.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinian men took to other parts of the compound to protest Israel’s assault on worshippers, chanting anti-occupation slogans.

Israeli forces have stormed the Al-Aqsa compound several times since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began just over a fortnight ago, using stun grenades, rubber bullets and batons to expel the mostly Palestinian worshippers. 

Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested and injured in the stormings.

A particularly brutal storming of the mosque and compound on Tuesday night drew international condemnation, with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying he was "shocked and appalled" at Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinians.

Since the start of Ramadan, Israeli forces have tried to prevent Palestinians from spending nights at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in a religious practice known as i'tikaf, through which Muslims spend longer periods of time inside mosques in a bid to devote oneself to worship.

Fears that Israeli aggression could further escalate were confirmed Thursday when Israel fired rockets at both Lebanon and the besieged Gaza Strip, after rockets were fired at Israel from both territories.

Israel’s strikes caused significant damage to the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

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Lebanese militant group Hezbollah told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that it had not been involved in the rocket fire from Lebanon.

An unnamed source in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told The New Arab that the rockets from southern Lebanon were fired by Palestinian factions as revenge for the Israeli raid of Al-Aqsa.

Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza said it "holds Israel responsible" for the aggression on the besieged enclave.