World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli policemen have stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), sparking confrontations with the Palestinian worshippers inside the premises, eyewitnesses said.
According to the witnesses, the Israeli police stormed the holy site and fired teargas to disperse Palestinians who had been staging a sit-in inside.
The sit-in was staged in response to a call by Palestinian groups and figures for their compatriots to flock to the holy site in the light of threats made by extremist Jewish groups to storm the holy site.
At least four worshippers have suffered temporary asphyxiation from teargas fired by Israeli police, which have partially besieged the site, the eyewitnesses said. A female religious student was also arrested, they added.
The Israeli police in a statement said that two policemen were injured when "dozens threw rocks and petrol bombs" towards Israeli police forces inside and around the mosque complex.
The statement went on to say that security forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets against "those who have disrupted order" inside the complex.
On Friday, the Mufti of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) Sheikh Mohamed Hussein on called on Palestinians to camp out in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex this week following calls by extremist Jewish groups to force their way into the holy site on the occasion of the Jewish Passover.
One of the mosque's security guards said that Israeli police initiated the attack on the Palestinians and that along with the Israeli police, a group of Jewish settlers have also attempted to storm the complex.
Al-Aqsa Mosque official Sheikh Najih Ibkeirat called on Palestinians to "stand by Al-Aqsa mosque in the most difficult phase of its history."
"I call on [Arab and Islamic] states and organizations to stand up to Israel, whose policies at Al-Aqsa Mosque are getting out of hand," Ibkeirat told Anadolu Agency, calling on Palestinians to maintain a sit-in throughout April inside the complex.
Omar Al -Kiswani, another Al-Aqsa official, said that Israeli forces attacked the worshippers near Al-Qibali and Al-Marawani mosques inside the complex.
"Israeli police also arrested one female student before leaving the site through Al-Silsileh gate," he told AA.
Several extremist Jewish groups have urged followers to mark the upcoming Jewish Passover holiday by storming the mosque complex next Monday.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have repeatedly entered the Al-Aqsa complex. The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
Last Mod: 13 Nisan 2014, 14:36