JERUSALEM CRISIS CONTINUES: Israeli Police Storm Al-Aqsa Mosque For a Third Day – Al Jazeera English
Clashes erupt after Israeli police raid mosque’s courtyards to support tours for Jewish activists
Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque for a third straight day, as Israeli forces were seen on the roof of the holy site.
Suleiman Ahmad, the president of Jerusalem’s Affairs Department, who is currently at the scene, told Al Jazeera that at least 17 Palestinians were injured in the clashes early on Tuesday.
“They have placed snipers on the rooftops and are using rubber bullets,” Ahmad said.
The site of the mosque is revered as holy by Jews and Muslims and is a frequent flashpoint of violence.
Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa threw stones and fireworks at the Israeli forces and set up barricades to prevent them from closing the entrance to the mosque.
The police forces eventually closed the doors to the mosque with the Palestinians still inside.
Al-Aqsa courtyard tours
Israeli police are set to allow Jewish activists to tour the courtyards of the mosque, which in the past has stirred angry reactions from Palestinians who fear Israel may change the rules for visiting the Al-Aqsa compound.
The tours, which are accompanied by a heavy Israeli police presence, last until 0800 GMT.
Azzam Khatib, director of endowments and Al-Aqsa Mosque affairs, told Al Jazeera that the violence at the site was worse than in previous days.
“Because of the Palestinians who were present inside the mosque, Israeli police faced trouble storming it around 7:30am this morning. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades,” Khatib said.
“There was a small fire caused by the stun grenades; all who are present here have extinguished the fire, which took place at the entrance of the mosque.”
Abdel Aziz al-Abasi, leader of the Mourabitoun movement that guards the mosque, said Israeli police have sealed off the compound.
“The bigger problem here is that the Israelis are trying to establish a precedent by dividing Al-Aqsa Mosque compound into sections and time segments, so they can give Israeli settlers access to our mosque,” Abasi told Al Jazeera.
“We will never agree to such plan because it is obvious that the Israelis are trying to take it over piecemeal.”