Sunday, July 05
Latest News
  1. Lawyer: 2 London teens have married IS group fighters
  2. Saudi-led air strike on Yemen rebel bastion 'kills 23'
  3. IAEA: Iran atomic bomb probe may be completed in 2015
  4. FM: Iran will help meet 'common challenges' like extremism
  5. Greece PM urges 'No' vote to 'live with dignity in Europe'
  6. Ministry: Saudi policeman killed in raid, IS flags found
  7. UNESCO condemns IS destruction of Syria's Palmyra antiquities
  8. Tunisian Abu Iyadh, reported dead in Libya, is Qaeda veteran
  9. Nigerian troops battling Boko Haram gunmen outside Maiduguri
  10. Kuwait tightens security as emir attends joint prayers
  11. Mourners hold minute's silence at Tunisia beach attack resort
  12. Nigerian leader condemns 'inhuman, barbaric' Boko Haram attacks
  13. Greek banks say have sufficient liquidity until Tuesday
  14. UN watchdog chief says 'more work needed' with Iran after visit
  15. Yemen clashes, strikes kill 21 in Aden
  16. Tunisia arrests 8 with 'direct links' to beach massacre
  17. Israel says Hamas linked to IS assault on Egyptians
  18. Iraq Christians train to recapture homes from IS
  19. IS destroys statue outside Syria's Palmyra museum
  20. UN watchdog chief says 'more work needed' with Iran after visit

Israeli police attack Aqsa protesters ahead of annexation debate

Feb. 25, 2014 10:33 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 26, 2014 7:56 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli troops and police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex early Tuesday and forcefully dispersed Palestinian worshipers and protesters ahead of a Knesset debate on a plan to annex the mosque.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at Muslim worshipers while protesters hurled stones.

Several worshipers were hurt as a result of the pepper spray and others were hit directly by rubber-coated bullets, witnesses said.

They added that Israeli intelligence agents stormed the Al-Aqsa complex through the Moroccan Gate and the Chain Gate and blockaded the prayer hall, closing its gates with chains.

Meanwhile, Jerusalemite students who study inside the complex were denied entry to Al-Aqsa, and three youths trying to access the complex though the Chain Gate were arrested, witnesses said.

Director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Azzam al-Khatib said that Israeli forces also closed the Moroccan Gate and denied Jewish extremists entry to the complex.

He added that Israeli forces later pulled out and were deployed at the main gates.

Around 50 Palestinians had spent the night inside the complex in protest of an Israeli Knesset debate, scheduled for Tuesday, over a plan to place the holy site under full Israeli jurisdiction.

Their protest was also in reaction to reports that Israeli rightist organizations had announced plans to raise Israeli flags inside the Al-Aqsa complex.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Israeli police used "means of dispersion" against stone-throwing protesters at the mosque.

Rosenfeld said there was "high tension" ahead of the Knesset debate, and that stones thrown by the Palestinians injured two policemen while three protesters were arrested.

Palestinian medics told AFP 15 protesters were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Right-wing Israeli MK Moshe Feiglin initiated the Al-Aqsa annexation debate, which was originally scheduled for last Tuesday. On Wednesday, Feiglin visited the mosque escorted by Israeli police and a cameraman.

Due to the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the compound -- overseen by Jordan -- to restrict the area for Muslim prayers.

Israeli forces, however, regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, often leading to tension with Palestinians.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

AFP contributed to this report
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015