Apr 15, 2022 - World

Over 150 Palestinians injured as Israeli police raid al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinians and Israeli police inside the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.

Palestinians and Israeli police inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli

Over 150 Palestinians were injured early Friday when Israeli police raided the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem just after morning prayers, Palestinian medics said.

The big picture: The Israeli Foreign Ministry said police entered the compound, also known as the Temple Mount, "to disperse" a group of Palestinian "rioters" who were collecting rocks and throwing them toward the nearby Jewish prayer area of the Western Wall. Hundreds were arrested.

  • Most of the injuries were due to rubber-coated bullets, "sound grenades or assaulting," the Palestinian Red Crescent said. Tear gas was also used, per Al Jazeera.

State of play: The latest escalation came ahead of the rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter holidays.

  • Israeli security forces have also been on high alert amid a wave of terror attacks that killed 14 people in Israel over the last two weeks. Several Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank since early March.
  • The mosque was reopened later Friday, and tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers attended midday prayers, per AP.

What they're saying: Palestinian authorities condemned Friday morning's raid.

  • "Immediate intervention by the international community is needed to halt this Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque and prevent things from going out of control," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesperson for the Palestinian presidency.
  • "The ministry holds the Israeli government fully and directly responsible for this crime and its consequences," the Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted: "The riots this morning on the Temple Mount are unacceptable and go against the spirit of the religions we believe in."

  • He said he sent his "support to the security forces who acted this morning with sensitivity and determination."
  • "Today, on the eve of Passover, the holiday of freedom, we all pray for freedom, security, calm, and good relations between neighbors. I call on our neighbors’ leaders to act in this spirit," he added.

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, in a tweet, urged "everyone to refrain from actions that further escalate tensions."

  • Tor Wennesland, the UN envoy for the Middle East peace process, said he was "concerned by the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem during these holy days."
  • "The provocations on the Holy Esplanade must stop now. I call on political, religious and community leaders on all sides to help calm the situation, avoid spreading inflammatory rhetoric and speak up against those seeking to escalate the situation. Allowing tensions to spiral further only risks another escalation," Wennesland added in a statement.

Flashback: Heightened tensions in Jerusalem helped spark an 11-day war in Gaza last year. Hundreds of Palestinians and more than a dozen people in Israel were killed.

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