'Stone-throwing' Israeli settlers storm Hebron mosque after attacking Palestinians
Settlers also attacked Palestinians in Hebron, injuring at least eight people.
The settlers performed a Jewish religious ritual in the mosque to celebrate the Chayevi Sarah holiday.
Dozens of Israeli troops deployed in the alleys leading up to the mosque in order to prevent Palestinians approaching it.
The Wye River Agreement of 1996 divided the Ibrahimi Mosque between Jews and Muslims. In 1994, an Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinian worshippers in the mosque.
Today more than 200,000 Palestinians live in Hebron along with roughly 500 Israeli settlers. The settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves which Palestinians are not allowed to enter.
The manager of the Ibrahim Mosque, Hafzi Abu Seneina told The New Arab, “Israeli occupation forces closed off the Ibrahimi Mosque, including all its courtyards, to Muslim worshippers at 4pm on Friday. It will stay closed until 9pm on Saturday.”
“The settlers have put up tents in the courtyards of the mosque and the areas around it. They’ve performed religious rituals to celebrate what Jews call Chayevi Sarah,” he added.
On Saturday afternoon dozens of settlers stormed the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hebron, throwing rocks at Palestinian houses. At least eight Palestinians were wounded overnight on Friday in another attack by settlers on the Old City of Hebron.
“Settlers protected by Israeli soldiers threw rocks at dozens of houses in the Old City of Hebron, injuring many people, including eight who were taken in Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to hospitals. Citizens were terrified,” Aref Jaber, a Palestinian human rights activist told The New Arab.
The injured reportedly included a young boy hit by a rock.
Jaber added that the settler violence was instigated by extremist rabbis who called for a Jewish takeover of Hebron’s Old City and the expulsion of Palestinians from there.
Hebron, along with the rest of the West Bank, was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967. Israeli settlers began moving there illegally in 1968 and taking over Palestinian buildings under the protection of the Israeli army.
Many of the settlers are affiliated with the extreme right and regularly attack Palestinians.