AMMAN: At least 14 Palestinians were injured on Sunday when Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at up to 100,000 worshippers during prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque compound to mark the first day of Eid Al-Adha.
The clashes erupted after the Israeli police and government allowed Jewish extremists to visit the site, after initially barring entry. Jerusalem police commander Doron Yedid said the policy had changed “with the backing of top political officials.”
Jews are barred from praying at the compound under a longstanding arrangement between Israel and Muslim authorities, but in recent years right-wing nationalists have stepped up visits to the site to challenge the arrangement. Jewish extremists have called for the mosque to be destroyed and the biblical Jewish temple to be rebuilt on the site.
Islamic Waqf officials had postponed morning prayers for an hour on Sunday, closed all Jerusalem mosques and called on Muslims to stay on the grounds to prevent the extremists’ incursion.
“This is a clear violation of an understanding that has existed since 1967, and it is aimed at trying to show that Al-Aqsa is not for Muslims by themselves,” Khaleel Assali, a member of the Islamic Waqf council, told Arab News.
Jordan, the custodian of the holy site, blamed Israel for Sunday’s violence and submitted a formal complaint to the Israeli government. “We condemn the continued Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, and attacks on worshippers and Waqf teams on the ground,” the Foreign Ministry in Amman said. “We hold the Israeli government responsible.”