Israeli police raid the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall inside Al-Aqsa mosque on 5 April, 2023. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Israeli shock troops arrested about 400 Palestinian worshippers in the early hours of 5 April after launching a brutal raid of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
BREAKING NEWS: Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque and violently attack worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/GiWL8BK7wA
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) April 4, 2023
Tel Aviv says the violent raid was launched to dislodge “agitators” who had barricaded themselves inside the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall. The worshippers reportedly did this after Jewish supremacist groups announced plans to raid the Muslim holy site.
Worshippers stayed at Al-Aqsa overnight to practice Itikaf after tens of thousands attended the earlier Taraweeh night prayer.
Israeli troops climbed the roof of the Mosque, smashed some of the windows, and fired sound bombs on the worshippers inside. The Palestinians tried to resist with stones and fireworks.
Dozens of heavily armed police then broke into the prayer hall and fired a barrage of sound bombs, tear gas, and rubber-coated bullets. They also beat them heavily.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) declared a state of alert in occupied Jerusalem and said it received multiple reports of injuries, but was unable to estimate the number of casualties. Additionally, Israeli forces prevented ambulances from reaching those who were badly injured.
According to the Commission for Palestinian Prisoners Affairs, the police has started to release some of the detained worshippers on the condition that they be removed from Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City in Jerusalem for a week.
Dozens of extremist settlers were escorted into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque after the raid ended.
In response to the violent attack on the 14th day of Ramadan, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Martyr Omar Al-Qasim Forces, fired a barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip towards nearby Israeli settlements.
One of the rockets hit a factory in the Sderot industrial zone causing material damage.
In response, the Israeli air force bombed several sites in the besieged Gaza Strip, including the Abu Jarad site, west of Gaza City, and the Areen site, northeast of the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central strip, according to local reports.
The Palestinian resistance in turn fired surface-to-air missiles at the Israeli aircraft carrying out the attacks.
Israel’s latest assault on Al-Aqsa Mosque was widely condemned by Palestinians, as thousands mobilized across the occupied West Bank.
Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Hamas resistance movement, said in a statement: “What is happening in Al-Aqsa Mosque is an unprecedented crime. Everyone must bear their responsibility, Palestinians and Muslims alike.”
He also urged Palestinians to march to Al-Aqsa Mosque and “protect it.”
Ziad al-Nakhla, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), released a similar statement, saying: “The events at Al-Aqsa Mosque are a threat to our sacred places of worship and the Palestinian people must be prepared for the imminent decisive confrontation [with Israel].”
Meanwhile, the West Bank’s ruling Fatah movement said what happened was “dangerous” and warned that Israel “crossed the red lines.”
Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia all released statements strongly condemning the raid and the attack on worshipers.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns this blatant storming and expresses its rejection of these practices that undermine peace efforts and contradict international principles in respect of religious sanctities,” the statement from Riyadh reads.
Iran also blasted the Israeli aggression, saying that “the brutal attack by the usurping Zionist regime’s military on Palestinian pilgrims and worshipers inside al-Aqsa Mosque has once again laid bare the criminal and inhumane nature of the regime before the eyes of the world.”