Hundreds of hardline Israelis have stormed East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque on a Jewish religious day of mourning commemorating the destruction of two ancient temples at the site.
At least 15 Palestinian worshipers were injured on Sunday during clashes with Israeli police, who escorted about 260 settlers on a provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, reports WAFA:
WAFA correspondent said about 260 settlers entered the Islamic holy site in groups to perform rituals, following calls by Jewish ‘Temple Mount’ groups urging their followers to break into al-Aqsa Mosque to commemorate the Tisha B’Av holiday.
The Israeli incursion in al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest place, provoked tension with Palestinian worshipers, who protested and chanted religious slogans in defiance of the settlers.
Israeli police then chased the worshipers and assaulted them, injuring about 15 of them.
Last year, tension ran high across the West Bank, including Jerusalem, against the backdrop of Israel’s repeated assaults on the Mosque, including attempts to enforce a unilateral temporal division of the Islamic holy site between Muslims and Jews.
Prior to unrest in early October 2015, the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor pointed out in a report that Israeli incitement and violations against Arabs in Jerusalem have increased dramatically in 2015.
The report, titled “Fire under the Ashes: Provoking Muslims in Jerusalem,” warned that Israeli incitement against Muslims could trigger a conflict that would likely result in disastrous consequences.
“Among the provocative acts documented by Euro-Med researchers against Palestinians in Jerusalem were performance of Talmudic prayers near Muslim worshippers, beating, throwing rubbish, cursing, death threats and preventing worshippers from reaching the mosque,” the report said.
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