Palestinian worshippers barricade themselves inside Al-Aqsa amid Israeli threat

Palestinian worshippers barricade themselves inside Al-Aqsa amid Israeli threat
The worshippers barricaded themselves inside the Al-Qibli prayer hall in a bid to carry out the religious practice of itikaf, and to prevent Israeli police from storming the mosque.
2 min read
09 April, 2023
The Al-Aqsa Mosque was the scene of a number of violent Israeli incursions this week [Getty]

Hundreds of Palestinian worshippers  barricaded themselves inside east Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque throughout Saturday evening until Sunday morning after a series of Israeli attacks earlier this week.

The worshippers enclosed themselves inside the mosque's main prayer hall, in a bid to prevent Israeli forces from storming and removing them from the premises, according to the Arabi21 news website.

The Palestinians stayed inside the prayer hall to carry out the religious practice of itikaf, which entails spending nights inside a mosque with the aim of devoting oneself to worship. 

The Palestinian worshippers performed Taraweeh prayers, which are held during the sacred month, as well as Fajr - or dawn - prayers.

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Elsewhere in the compound, on Sunday Israeli police forces assaulted a number of Palestinian men attempting to enter the mosque from several gates to the mosque for the early morning prayers.

The forces were particularly present on Bab Hatta Road in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, reported Arabi21.

A number of gates - including the Ablution Gate - were also closed by Israeli forces, hindering Palestinian access to the mosque, which is the third holiest site in Islam.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Jewish extremists stormed the Al-Aqsa compound under the protection of Israeli forces, intimidating Palestinian worshippers as they mark Ramadan.

Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque earlier this week, brutally attacking Palestinian worshippers with rubber bullets and sound bombs.

Harrowing videos shared online also showed Israeli troops beating Palestinians with batons, before expelling them from the mosque.

Between 400 and 500 people were also detained in the incursion on Tuesday, before being taken to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, in East Jerusalem. Many Palestinians sustained injuries that required treatment by local ambulances.

Much of the Arab world, Turkey and the United Nations condemned Israel’s attack, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying he was "shocked and appalled" at Israel’s violence.

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In a statement on Saturday, the Jordanian foreign ministry warned of "catastrophic consequences" should Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa again.

Jordan, whose Islamic Waqf body manages the compound, said that Israel "bears responsibility for the escalation in Jerusalem and the occupied territories" as well as for "the deterioration that will worsen if it does not stop its incursions into the holy al-Aqsa mosque".