Israeli forces attack Palestinians worshipers at Al Aqsa

Israeli forces attacked Palestinian worshipers at Al Aqsa mosque compound, on Sunday 11 August, with tear gas, rubber bullets and sound grenades as they were praying for Eid Al-Adha.

Thousands of Palestinians on Sunday gathered at the mosque for the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha � an Islamic holiday celebrated every year during Hajj.

The Red Crescent reported 61 Palestinians wounded, 15 of whom were taken to hospitals.

The day coincided with the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av, which typically sees an increase in Jewish visitors to the holy site.

Earlier this week, extremist groups which advocate rebuilding the ancient Jewish Temple called for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and conducting Jewish prayers at the site, both to mark Tisha B’Av and disrupt Eid rituals.

Some 1,300 Jews visited the site on Sunday, according to the Muslim Waqf organisation, which administers the holy compound.

According to a reporter for Al Jazeera, Harry Fawcett, tensions at the site been rising for some time.

“The gate was opened, but no non-Muslims were allowed in. There was this big standoff and then we saw the security forces move in to clear that standoff,” Fawcett told Al Jazeera.

“That’s when we saw the police use rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades,” he added.

“There is a big political movement from the far right in Israeli politics to get more access to the area, and potentially to pray there in the future, and that is what is behind the tension,” Fawcett said.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), accused Israel of provoking religious and political tension.

“The storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli occupation forces this Eid morning is an act of recklessness and aggression,” she said in a statement.

The compound is situated in a part of East Jerusalem occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war in a move that has not won international recognition.

Source: Palestine Monitor