Friday, 24 February 2012 Middle East Monitor
Jewish settler groups stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday morning, under the protection of the Israeli security forces which prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshippers from entering the mosque to protect it from the extremists.
Sources in occupied Jerusalem said that the city is tense after the incursion. It was confirmed that worshippers inside Al-Aqsa confronted the settlers, who entered the Noble Sanctuary from the historic Moroccans' Gate.
A statement from Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, which is based inside Israel, condemned the assault on Islam's third holiest site. "Following the incursion by extremist Jews and their calls for more raids against the mosque, the Israeli occupation's police and army have tightened their blockade of Al-Aqsa." Large numbers of worshippers have been stopped from entering the mosque, the Foundation said. Women have been abused and identity cards have been confiscated.
Al-Aqsa Foundation's statement said that 65 Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in three groups, including a group from the notorious Kiryat Arba illegal settlement near Hebron. Israeli forces have surrounded the mosque and closed its doors. The men and women inside have responded with cries of "Allahu Akbar - God is Great".
The Israeli occupation forces arrested three Palestinian citizens of the Zionist state as well as one of the mosque guards. Riad Aghbarieh from Umm Al-Fahm, Tamer Shala'ta from Sakhnin, Ibrahim Khalil from Baana Nujeidat and guard Samer Qwaider were detained by Israeli officers. A tense atmosphere now prevails in Al-Aqsa.
This latest in a long line of Jewish violations of the sanctity of Muslim and Christian holy places in occupied Palestine was planned by extremist Jews from Kiryat Arba. Their call for a collective break-in of Al-Aqsa was made under the heading, "An ascent of the Temple Mount to cleanse it of Muslims and perform Talmudic rituals". Once their nefarious plans were known, Palestinian religious and national leaders in Jerusalem called for a swift and large presence of Muslims in the mosque to deter the illegal settlers.
Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers at the al Aqsa mosque on Friday [Reuters]
Palestinian killed in West Bank clashes
Protester fatally shot near checkpoint, as Israeli police clashed with Palestinians near al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem
25 Feb 2012 Al Jazeera
A Palestinian man has died after being shot in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank, as Palestinian protesters and Israeli police also clashed near the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The man, who was reported to be in his 20s and identified by doctors as Talat Ramia, died during treatment at a hospital in Ramallah for a bullet wound to the chest.
"He had already bled quite a lot ... we tried to resuscitate him but not to no avail, he was pronounced dead shortly
afterwards," the unidentified doctor told the Reuters news agency.
Protesters had gathered near the Qalandia checkpoint after they heard that clashes had taken place near the al-Aqsa Mosque, about 10km away.
An Israeli military spokesman said the protester at Qalandia had launched fireworks at the soldiers from close range and they responded with live fire in self defence.
"An initial investigation suggests that the Palestinian fired fireworks at soldiers from close range endangering their lives and the soldiers responded with live ammunition, wounding him in his shoulder," the spokesman said.
He added that the incident was under investigation.
Four people were arrested in clashes near the al-Aqsa mosque after Israeli police officers entered the compound where the mosque is situated and used stun grenades to disperse stone-throwing rioters, an Israeli police spokesman said.
Witnesses at al Aqsa said police had also fired tear gas, forcing a number of women to run for cover inside the adjacent Dome of the Rock.
"We were praying when they started shooting tear gas towards us," 58-year-old Umm Mohammad told the AFP news agency by telephone from inside the Dome of the Rock.
"At first, they were shooting at the Al-Aqsa mosque but we hid in the Dome of the Rock, and now they have started firing tear gas and sound bombs towards the gates," she said.
"Women were terrified and screaming at first, but we got over it and started shouting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is greatest)," she said.
The clashes followed nearly a week of unrest at the walled complex.
In another outbreak of violence in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, soldiers clashed with demonstrators who participated in two separate protests, and soldiers arrested four people, an Israeli military spokesman said.
In the Gaza town of Khan Yunis, thousands of Palestinians also marched in support of Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem.