Israeli police injure dozens of Palestinians outside Masjid Al Aqsa

Pic: Ma'an News Agency

Dozens of Palestinians were injured yesterday evening when Israeli forces violently dispersed Muslim worshipers who were performing Isha prayer in the streets outside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to protest increased Israeli security measures at the holy site.

Ma’an News Agency reports that witnesses said Israeli police assaulted worshipers who tried to approach the Lions’ Gate, one of the entrances to the Al-Aqsa compound.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service told Ma’an that its paramedics had treated more than 50 people who were injured by Israeli forces at Lions’ Gate.

The Red Crescent said 16 Palestinians were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets, nine were wounded by shrapnel from stun grenades, and 25 sustained bruises after being beaten and kicked by Israeli forces.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli police forces “dispersed dozens of Muslims who intended to perform prayers in the street, posing a threat to their safety and to the safety of other road users.”

She added that stones and other unspecified objects were thrown towards Israeli police officers during the altercation.

East Jerusalem has witnessed heightened tensions in the past week following the deadly attack on Friday that left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City.

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Worshipers have performed prayers at the Lions’ Gate leading to Al-Aqsa since the attack to express their rejection of heightened Israeli security procedures around the compound, including the installation of metal detectors and security cameras at the entrances of Al-Aqsa.

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