Israeli police said in a statement that hundreds of rioters barricaded themselves in the mosque armed with stones and firecrackers, and that security forces were attacked with stones when they entered the mosque. Many were detained, he said, without specifying the number. The Washington Post was unable to independently verify that account.
The latest incident further escalates tensions at a time of increasing political turmoil and violence in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, just as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the Jewish Passover holiday.
Far-right religious nationalist members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have previously supported activists who threatened to slaughter a lamb at the mosque compound, in a move that would upend the decades-old status of the sensitive site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
The disputed site has been administered by the Waqf, a Jordanian religious authority, since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. Non-Muslims are not allowed to pray there and Israeli police require visitors to deposit all religious items before entering.
What is the Temple Mount and why did Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit create tension?
The Israel Defense Forces also said that five rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel in the early morning. No injuries were reported. In retaliation, the IDF carried out gaza strikeshitting what he said were Hamas weapons manufacturing sites.
Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, said tear gas was used in the attack on the compound and worshipers had been beaten.
A spokesman for the Palestinian presidency said Israel “must act responsibly and stop this absurdity, which will have dangerous consequences for everyone,” Wafa reported.
The Palestinian diplomatic mission in Britain shared a video about Twitter which showed security forces beating people lying on the ground with batons. The Post was unable to independently verify the video.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians were also reported in the Palestinian town of Beit Ummar. One soldier was wounded, the IDF said on Telegram.
A timeline of the recent escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians
The incidents are part of a wave of escalating violence in recent months, as Israel’s far-right government has continued with near-daily incursions into the occupied West Bank and increased pressure on Palestinian militants. On Saturday, police killed a Palestinian at the entrance to the al-Aqsa compound. Israeli authorities say he had tried to grab an officer’s firearm, while her family said he was trying to protect a worshiper from being assaulted by Israeli police.
Israeli forces have killed more than 80 Palestinians in 2023, according to the Associated Press. The United Nations had said that 2022 was the deadliest year in almost two decades for Palestinians, with at least 146 killings in the West Bank and predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem.
More than a dozen Israelis have been killed by Palestinian attackers in 2023, according to AP.