Government: Israel’s Targeting of al-Aqsa Mosque Drags the Region into Religious War

RAMALLAH, July 26, 2015 (WAFA) – Renewed assaults by Israeli settlers and police against al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem proves Israel’s intent to drag the entire region into a religious war, the government said in a press release Sunday.

It said that Israel’s continues attacks against al-Aqsa mosque is part of Israel’s attempts to divert international attention away from its ongoing violations against the Palestinian people, its theft of land and construction of illegal settlements, and its blockade on Gaza.

The government strongly condemned the early Sunday assault against the mosque and worshipers and called upon the international community and the United Nations Security Council to compel Israel to put an end to these acts.

Earlier Sunday, dozens of Muslim worshipers were injured, while many suffocated by tear gas during clashes that erupted with Israeli police at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after groups of Jewish hardliners broke into the Islamic holy site to mark Tisha B’Av holiday.

Damages to the compound properties and a number of gates were also reported. A number of Palestinians, including a child and a women, were arrested during the assault.

Police fired teargas canisters and stun grenades towards the Muslim worshipers, who responded by chanting religious slogans and throwing rocks and shoes at them.

This came after Jewish settler groups, known as ‘Temple Mount’ organizations, made calls urging all Jewish settlers to storm the holy site to mark Tisha B’Av Day, a Jewish holiday commemorating the ‘destruction of the temple’.

The organizations reportedly demanded that Al-Aqsa be entirely closed to Muslims starting Saturday evening and all day Sunday. They also requested the holy site to be closed to Muslims during proposed provocative Israeli visit hours from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. from Monday to Thursday next week.