Israeli forces fire tear gas, stun grenades after Ibrahimi Mosque Friday prayers
Palestinians had been urged to attend Palestine's second-holiest mosque for Friday prayers this week to help prevent Israeli interference in the historic site, Palestine's official Wafa news agency said.
Israel is carrying out efforts to build, among other things, a lift exclusive to Jewish settlers at the West Bank site.
Such moves have long been viewed as intended to "Judaise" the holy mosque – to turn it from being a Muslim and Palestinian location into a Jewish and Israeli one.
There were reportedly tens of Palestinians who suffered from the effects of the tear gas.
Videos purportedly showing the events at the mosque were posted on social media.
Prayers took place both within the mosque, which is also sacred to Jews, and outside in the broader compound, after Palestinian worshippers arrived early on Friday.
Every other mosque in the occupied West Bank city was shut by Palestine's religious endowments authority, or Awqaf, ministry, Arabi 21 reported on Friday, based on a release the ministry issued.
The release reportedly requested all Islamic prayers be conducted at the Ibrahimi Mosque but focused particularly on Friday's congregational worship.
Friday prayers are the largest weekly religious gathering for Muslims.
Israel blocked use of multiple entrances to the site and forced those gathered in the courtyard areas out, Wafa quoted Jamal Abu Arram, Hebron's Awqaf chief, as having explained.
"The activities taken to refuse the occupation's schemes will continue and we will not allow the sanctuary to be harmed", he said.
Hefthi Abu Sneenah, who is in charge of the mosque, slammed incursion on Friday, while Palestinians were urged to go there in greater numbers by the Hebron Awqaf Directorate.
الحرم الإبراهيمي الان في الخليل— أحمد (@KhaliliGuy) August 13, 2021
قوات الاحتلال انهالت على المصلين بعشرات القنابل pic.twitter.com/uUe1zjYDcA
Abu Sneenah also urged the Muslim and Arab nations to assist and speak out against Israel's alleged Judaisation efforts, according to Arabi 21.
Gaza rulers Hamas have also criticised Israel's attempts to disconnect the Hebron mosque from its Muslim character.
"The occupation is trying to forge reality and history and falsify the facts", Hazem Qassem, a group spokesperson, argued, according to Anadolu Agency.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a militant faction with significant presence in Gaza, also weighed in on the issue,
Anadolu said that PIJ spokesperson Tareq Selmi cautioned: "We warn the occupation [Israel] from attempts and new settlement plans that target the Ibrahimi Mosque".
The Old City of Hebron, in which the Ibrahimi Mosque is located, was deemed a World Heritage Site in 2017 by UNESCO.