AL-QUDS – Scores of Palestinian Muslim worshippers have been injured after Israeli forces raided Al-Aqsa mosque in Al-Quds (Occupied East Jerusalem) on Friday, February 7, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at worshippers.
"It is a clear violation which is rejected by all the religions and the international laws," the imam of the mosque, Mohamed Hussian, was quoted by Al-Jazeera.
"It is a violation against al-Aqsa mosque and the Israeli authorities are responsible, because they order their soldiers to raid the mosque violently, they are responsible for all what is happening in Al-Aqsa mosque."
The clashes broke out after Israeli forces stormed the compound on Friday, firing stun bombs and rubber bullets at worshippers.
Worshipers responded by throwing stones and chanting: "We sacrifice our blood and souls for you Aqsa".
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld claimed that police had responded after stones were thrown at them.
"After the Friday prayers on the Temple Mount there were stones that were thrown by number of Palestinians toward police officers that were located at the Mughrabi area which is just outside the Temple Mount," he said.
"Israeli police units responded by using stun grenades and entering inside the Temple Mount area, immediately we made sure that we dispersed all the rioters."
The mosque guard said that Israeli forces closed the mosque's Al-Qibali gate and sprayed pepper gas toward worshippers inside.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that Israeli forces were preventing Palestinian worshippers from going in or out the mosque compound.
At least 20 people, including children, were wounded in the violence.
Eyewitnesses said Israeli forces also beat a number of women and arrested several Palestinians, Press TV reported.
The clashes came less than a month after Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel said Tel Aviv plans to replace the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in the Muslim world, with a temple.
The remark infuriated Palestinians, who condemned the plan as desecration and part of the Israeli regime’s ongoing attempts to Judaize the al-Aqsa Mosque and East al-Quds.
Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam's third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel occupied the holy city and the West Bank in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).
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