Israeli troops storm al-Aqsa mosque

Israeli troops storm al-Aqsa mosque
2 min read
28 September, 2015
Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protesters at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque for the second day running on Monday.

At least 370 Israeli soldiers and police officers stormed the al-Aqsa mosque through Al-Mugharbeh and Al-Silsila gates and fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at worshippers near the Al-Qibali Mosque witnesses told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Witnesses at the scene said that 20 Israeli soldiers went up to the roof of the Al-Qibali Mosque, smashing windows and shooting at worshippers.

Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, al-Aqsa mosque director, told Anadolu Agency that one Palestinian was shot with a rubber bullet and 25 Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

He added that Israeli soldiers closed all the gates of the al-Qibali mosque with iron chains and surrounded the al-Aqsa mosque preventing men under 50 years old from entering the mosque compound.  

On Sunday, Israeli police clashed with young Palestinian protesters at Islam's third holiest site early Sunday, raising tensions ahead of a major Jewish holiday.

No injuries or arrests were initially reported, after Palestinian youths, chanting "God is great", threw rocks at police in riot gear.     

Palestinians have said they fear that increasing visits by Jewish groups to the holy compound, are eroding Muslim religious control there.  

Israel has pledged to maintain Muslim prayer rights at al-Aqsa, but has frequently banned young Muslim men from entering the area, which it captured when it seized East Jerusalem and the West Bank in a 1967 war.  

There have been similar days of unrest at al-Aqsa over the past several weeks during a period coinciding with the onset of major Jewish and Muslim holidays.  

See Also: Photo gallery: Thousands of Palestinians perform Eid prayers at al-Aqsa

Sunday's incident occurred on the eve of the Jewish festival of Sukkoth and the end of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. An Israeli ban on Jewish visits to the compound, imposed several days ago in a bid to lower tensions, was still in effect.  

The White House has said it was deeply concerned about the violence at the site and has called on all sides to "exercise restraint and refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric".  

While violence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has not approached the levels of past Palestinian uprisings, there has been a surge of Palestinian stone-throwing.  

On Thursday, Israel's security cabinet of senior ministers decided to impose a minimum four-year jail term on Palestinian rock throwers and to 'ease' open-fire regulations.

Israeli attacks on al-Aqsa mosque