Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Clashes and Arrests in the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the End of Ramadan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The fiercest clashes in months erupted inside Al-Aqsa mosque yesterday between worshippers and Israeli occupation forces that stormed the mosque accompanied by settlers who insisted on conducting “provocative” tours inside it. The clashes came at the beginning of the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, and the tours are unprecedented.

The Director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar Kiswani said that the clashes began very early and lasted for hours, and resulted in at least seven worshippers who confronted a group of settlers as they entered the gates of the mosque being injured.

Kiswani stressed that allowing the settlers to enter Al-Aqsa during this period of Ramadan is unprecedented and has not happened for many years. There was a tacit agreement not to provoke in the late ten days of fasting.

Video footage broadcasted by activists showed a group of settlers storming the grounds of Al-Aqsa accompanied by Israeli police. The Department of Religious Endowment said that there were around twenty settlers.

The worshippers fought with Israeli forces with only their hands as weapons. The clashes then became increasingly violent, and the occupation forces surrounded a section of the mosque and attempted to storm it, exposed worshipers to gas and sound bombs in order to force them to leave and then arrested some of them. Worshippers threw shoes at the soldiers and locked the doors.

Israeli forces arrested five worshippers and three of them were from South Africa. Red Crescent crews said that they transferred 7 other worshippers to hospital and provided immediate treatment to 17 others.

In addition to these arrests inside the mosque, 12 other people were arrested in areas in the West Bank, bringing the number of people detained in the month of Ramadan to around 350 detainees.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Centre for Studies said that the occupying forces did not respect the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan, and continued detention operations in all parts of Palestinian territories. They have also continued with their policy of repressing and torturing prisoners in all prisons, and the centre has recorded 330 arrests since the beginning of the month (excluding the arrests made yesterday).

The Israeli acts of aggression that took place at Al-Aqsa mosque yesterday were widely condemned by Palestinians. Official calls were made for Palestinians to prepare to go to Al-Aqsa Mosque in the final days of Ramadan in order to defend it.