RAMALLAH: Zionist forces shot and wounded more than 300 Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound yesterday after storming the Mosque’s Dome of the Rock and Al-Qibli Mosque compound. They attacked and stormed the shrine by firing teargas and stun grenades to disperse the worshipers, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said. The society added more than 200 people were hospitalized, five of them in critical condition. Three people lost one eye each, said surgeon Firas Abu Akari at east Jerusalem’s Maqassed hospital.
The society said the injured included paramedics, and one critical case needed a ventilator. The Zionist forces obstructed the Red Crescent teams from helping the people in Al-Aqsa Mosque and the surrounding areas of the Old City. Loud booms and angry screams echoed from the ancient stone walls of the compound, revered by Muslims, where tear gas fired by the Zionist forces filled the air and the ground was littered with rocks, stun grenade fragments and other debris.
The violence was the latest in days of the worst such disturbances in Jerusalem since 2017, fuelled by a long-running bid by Zionist settlers to take over nearby Palestinian homes in the annexed east Jerusalem. Despite mounting international condemnation, the Zionist entity supported the police brutal force as “just struggle” amid the rising attacks on Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem.
The UN Security Council was to meet at Tunisia’s request later on the unrest that has escalated since the last Friday prayers of the fasting month of Ramadan. A key court hearing scheduled for yesterday on Sheikh Jarrah, the flashpoint east Jerusalem neighborhood at the center of the property dispute, has meanwhile been postponed. There were fears of further violence ahead of a planned march by Zionists to commemorate the takeover of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
US ‘serious concern’
The United States expressed “serious concerns” about the situation. The Zionist entity’s role in the hostilities-especially Friday’s clashes at Al-Aqsa has met widespread criticism. All six Arab nations that have diplomatic ties with the Zionist entity-Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan-have also condemned the entity.
In Jordan, the custodian of Jerusalem’s holy Islamic and Christian sites, King Abdullah II condemned “the violations and escalatory practices at the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque”. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, urged “the UN Security Council to take measures on the repeated violations” carried out by the Zionist entity. The Middle East quartet of envoys from the EU, Russia, the US and the UN-and Pope Francis-have all called for calm.
Much of the recent violence stems from a long-running legal effort by the Zionist settler groups to evict several Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. A lower court ruling this year backing the settlers’ decades-old claim to the plots infuriated Palestinians. The Zionist entity annexed east Jerusalem following the 1967 takeover. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has expressed “full support for our heroes in Al-Aqsa”. The Zionist artillery yesterday shelled several sites in Gaza Strip also. – AFP