Clashes on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem





At least fifty people have been injured this Friday in clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police near the al-Aqsa mosque, on the Esplanade of the Mosques, in occupied East Jerusalem, coinciding with the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and in a context of growing tension in the area.

The Israeli police have made a wide deployment before the attendance of tens of thousands of Palestinians who were going to pray there this Friday for the first Friday of Ramadan and which also coincides with the celebrations of Good Friday for Christians and Jewish Passover. Israeli security forces were on high alert after the escalation of tension in recent weeks in the region.

Clashes with Israeli police officers began early in the morning and ended with at least one fifty Palestinians woundedas reported by the Red Crescent emergency service, which specified that this figure corresponds to those who had to be transferred to nearby hospitals or clinics to receive medical care.

In addition, a spokesman for the Red Crescent added that the injuries recorded were the product of rubber bullets, the explosion of stun grenades and beatings by security forces.

Three policemen also injured

For its part, the Israeli Police has assured that three officers have been injured by stone throwing. A police spokesman has specified that the incidents began this Friday morning with the throwing of stones and fireworks by hundreds of Palestinian protesters who would have come to the site with flags of the Palestinian National Authority and the Islamist movement Hamas. Given this, he added, the troops waited until the end of the morning prayer to intervene and disperse the protesters, triggering clashes.

The incidents not only took place in uncovered areas of the Esplanade, but also inside the Al Aqsa Mosque itselfthe third holiest site in Islam and rarely accessed by Israeli security forces.

The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, has reported that dozens of Israeli policemen entered the mosque and “They attacked thousands of Muslim worshipers” who were praying on the spot. The security forces, for their part, have indicated that “violent rioters” barricaded themselves inside the mosque and continued to “incite violence”.

growing tension

These events take place within a growing tension in the region, after a week of intense violence in the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army has carried out multiple raids following a series of Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.

The death this Friday morning of a 17-year-old minor as a result of injuries sustained this Thursday in clashes with Israeli security forces raised to seven the number of Palestinians killed in violent episodes in the West Bank in the last two days.

Until this Friday, the city of Jerusalem had been left out of the main incidents of recent weekswhich included four serious attacks in Israel and multiple military operations in West Bank territory.

General strike in the West Bank over what Palestinians consider a “massacre”

The Esplanade of the Mosques, also called the Temple Mount by the Jews, is located in the Old City of East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector occupied since 1967 by Israel. Jordan administers the Mosque Complex, where the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located, but access to this place is controlled by Israel.

But the riots this Friday are not the first in the Esplanade of the Mosques. During Ramadan 2021, the Muslim holy month, clashes also took place.

Shortly before the start of this year’s Ramadan month on April 2, senior Israeli and Jordanian officials stepped up talks to ensure both freedom of worship and security at the site in hopes of avoiding further clashes.

This weekend, in the middle of Ramadan, the authorities feared more conflicts in the holy city with the beginning of the Christian Holy Week and the Jewish celebrations of Easter with prayers at the Wailing Wall, a rare coincidence of calendars between the three great monotheistic religions, especially since violence has increased in recent weeks in Israel and occupied West Bank.




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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