In yet another violent surge into Al-Aqsa this Thursday, Israeli force injured 16 people and arrested 50 more, including children.
The story of the Israeli force violently storming into one of the holiest places for Muslims around the world seems never to end. In the early hours of this past Thursday, Israeli security forces carried out a new surge into the Al-Aqsa compound. They violently dispersed hundreds of settlers who gathered in the Mosque for praying.
The result was a violent show in which 16 Palestinians were badly injured, most of whom were taken to hospital. Israeli forces also arrested dozens of Arab worshipers, among whom there were children. The rest of the population was lucky to only be escorted out of the Mosque compound.
According to the Sama al-Quds field medical center, where most injured were taken to, injuries ranged from rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas suffocation.
But that was not all. A report issued by the Red Crescent also said two people were severely injured from brutal beatings. The attack happened when Palestinian worshipers were praying in the al-Qibli prayer hall at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
It happened amid rising tensions during the 74th anniversary of Independence Day or Nakba Day (Catastrophe Day).
Nakba Day, as the name suggests, refers to the annual day of commemoration of the destruction of Palestine and the Palestinian society in 1948. It means the Day of Catastrophe in which the Israeli entity proclaimed existence in the occupied Palestinian. It is also a day on which the majority of the Palestinian people were permanently displaced from their homeland.
Israelis call this day their Independence Day, and is set as May 15 every year. But they celebrated it on May 4-5 this year to adjust according to the Hebrew calendar.
More than 600 Palestinian worshipers were in the Mosque at the time when Israeli forces began their attack.
No end in sight to the rising tensions
Tensions between Palestinians and Israeli forces have heightened in the past two months. The unrest reached its peak following a series of attacks inside Israel and raids in occupied East Jerusalem in Ramadan.
During this month, nearly 300 people, mostly Palestinians, were injured in clashes between police and Arab worshipers.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem has especially been the scene of violent clashes between the two sides.
In a statement on Thursday, the Islamic Resistance Movement, known also as Hamas, strongly condemned the violent surge of Palestinian worshipers. The group said settler incursions are “a serious escalation and direct provocation, threatening a comprehensive explosion, for which the occupation government bears full responsibility”.
Earlier last week, Hamas even threatened Israel with serious attacks if Israeli security forces carried out further raids on the Mosque and keep attacking Palestinians; “You should be ready for a great battle if the (Israeli) occupation does not stop attacking Al-Aqsa mosque,” said Yahya Sinwar, Hamas chief in the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave.
The mounting violence, which specifically began in mid-March, has so far left 29 people killed, including a total of 26 Palestinians and 3 Israeli Arabs. “We are deeply concerned by the escalating violence in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel,” a spokesperson for the UN said this April.
East Jerusalem was the scene to a similar wave of tensions last year in May, which led to a full-scale war between Gaza and Israel then. That’s why the current tensions have sparked international fears of a new deadly conflict between Palestinians and Israeli forces.