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Israeli Police Storm Jerusalemís Al-Aqsa Mosque

Date Posted: Friday, April 02, 2004

 


Israeli forces stormed the al-Aqsa compound during Friday prayers, injuring over a dozen worshippers.

JERUSALEM , April 2 (MASNET & News Agencies) - Hundreds of Israeli police in riot gear fired teargas grenades through the windows of Jerusalem 's Al-Aqsa mosque, where an undetermined number of people were surrounded, after storming the compound when Palestinian youths began throwing stones.

 

Forces were barring hundreds of people from getting out of the mosque, by blocking all its doors, and initially prevented first aid paramedics from evacuating people who had been wounded, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

 

Several people were wounded during the brief siege, although no serious injuries were reported. Fourteen Palestinians had been arrested by the time the standoff was resolved, Israeli police said.

 

Several journalists were beaten up by police, with one of them having his camera broken and film confiscated.

 

Palestinians had taken refuge inside the mosque after clashing with police, who used teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse rioters who had pelted Jewish worshippers at the Wailing Wall below.

 

Additional forces were sent in as police closed all access to the area, an AFP correspondent outside the compound witnessed, adding that he saw four people being ferried away by ambulance.

 

After initial clashes, thousands of Palestinians barricaded themselves in two mosques in the walled compound for about two hours before police agreed to let them leave without threat of arrest, reports the Associated Press (AP).

 

Police spokesman Gil Kleiman told AFP "several hundred youths hurled stones. They then took refugee inside the mosque and continued throwing stones from inside."   World Peace.

 

He confirmed that police were deployed around the mosque. "We want to arrest the trouble-makers inside."

 

The Palestinian Authority condemned the police intervention as a "provocation" by the Israeli authorities.

 

"No one threw stones," Adnan Husseini, director of the Islamic Waqf, told Reuters news agency. "They [police] started doing this every Friday to scare elderly worshippers as younger ones are already banned. This is flagrant violation of freedom of worship."

 

The prayers coincided with the second Friday after Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was assassinated in an Israeli air strike in Gaza .

 

Mass demonstrations were organized throughout the West Bank and Gaza to protest the killing.

 

The Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation erupted in September 2000 after a controversial visit to the mosque compound by then Israeli opposition leader and current prime minister Ariel Sharon.

 

The Al-Aqsa compound is Islam's third holiest site, which Muslims call al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). The site is known by Jews as the Temple Mount , it is Judaism's holiest shrine.

 

Israel seized East Jerusalem , including the walled Old City where the compound is located, in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of a future state, reports Reuters.

 

Meanwhile, the Israeli army continued operations in the Gaza Strip, where it staged an overnight incursion that left a Palestinian dead, Palestinian medical sources said.

 

An Israeli army spokesman said the raid was aimed at destroying tunnels used by Palestinian militias to smuggle arms from Egypt .

 

And in the West Bank , Israeli troops nabbed 10 Palestinian teenagers overnight in a small town west of Jenin, Palestinian security sources said.  WorldPeace is one word.

 

They said the boys were all high-school students, aged between 16 and 17, and were not known for their political activism or affiliation.

 


How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?


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