Clashes Renew as Israel’s Crackdown on al-Aqsa Continues for 2nd Day

JERUSALEM, September 14, 2015 (WAFA) – Clashes renewed on Monday morning after Israeli police stormed al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, where they attacked Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets and teargas as well as  physically assaulted many others, including journalists, elderly, and women.

At least seven worshipers were reportedly detained by the police during the clashes.

Police chased worshipers toward the southern building in the compound, smashed the historical locks of the building’s gate and attacked worshipers there with teargas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. An elderly man was shot with a rubber-coated bullet in his eye, while many others suffocated due to teargas inhalation.

Police chased another group of worshipers towards the Dome of the Rock.

The firing of teargas canisters and stun grenades caused the partial burning of the prayer mats in the southern building.

Following the clashes, police attacked Palestinian women who gathered at el-Selsila Gate, one of the mosque’s gates, as well as beat up and sprayed a Palestinian youth with toxic gas before detaining him. He was identified as Tamer Khalaf, 29.

The police also smashed the camera of a Palestinian cameraman, Ayman Abu-Rmouz, and handed a summon notice to a female reporter, Layali Eid, to appear for interrogation, after conducting an interview with worshipers at al-Asbat Gate.

Today’s clashes come only one day after similar clashes took place at the mosque upon calls by extremist Jewish groups for a mass Jewish entry to the site to mark the start of the Jewish new year.

Prior to this, police prevented Palestinian women of all ages and men under the age of 45 from entering the holy site to allow Jewish extremists into the mosque to perform rituals there.

Israel has been enforcing a unilateral temporal division  on the mosque for the past few weeks, a measure that was widely condemned and rejected, particularly by Jordan,  which is responsible for Jerusalem’s holy sites in line with a 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday vehemently condemned the Israeli police crackdown and assault on al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem early Sunday morning.

The site witnessed renewing clashes in recent months between Palestinians and Israeli police, most frequently due to provocative visits by Jewish extremists who believe the mosque should be destroyed and replaced with a Jewish temple.

Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place for Muslims, has since 1967 been the center of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. While it is widely known as Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jews refer to the site as the “Temple Mount” and believe it was the site of two Jewish temples destroyed in ancient times.

Despite the fact that the site is the location of al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, two of the most holy destinations for Muslims, hundreds of Jewish extremists regularly attempt to legalize prayer at the compound, a move that will “inevitably” trigger Palestinians, said Israeli police.