According to reports, clashes erupted early Friday between Israeli police and Palestinians inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas and stun grenades at people gathered within the premises.
As per footage shared on social media platforms by Palestinians, Israeli police stormed the mosque as attendees gathered for early morning prayers. Several people were reportedly hurt in the ongoing strike on Friday.
It can be also seen in the video that the crowd inside the premises is pelting stones at the forces who have entered the Mosque. There are no further details available about the incident and the reason behind the strike by Israeli forces.
Notably, the news of strikes and the intensification of violence comes during Ramzan, the Muslim holy month, and just before Passover, the Jewish festival. Last year, Israeli security forces raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramzan which resulted in further escalating tensions and led to an 11-day Israeli action in Gaza in retaliation to Hamas rockets fired at Israel.
In anticipation of terrorist strikes, Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, recently instructed the country’s security services to remain on high alert until Ramadan’s end. Following a shootout in Jenin, West Bank, in which three suspected terrorists were killed, this decision was taken. The three terrorists were killed by Israeli Defense Forces on the night of April 3 near Jenin, a West Bank city.
Days following the alert, Israeli Prime Minister Bennett stated that security forces had lately thwarted more than 15 terrorist assaults in the Jewish state.
While speaking to Palestinians in the West Bank, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz cautioned, “We are in a difficult period of terror attacks against Israeli citizens, a situation that we cannot accept. We are considering the measures we can take in honour of Ramzan in order to allow you to celebrate the holiday in the best way possible, while we at the same time maintain security.”
Terrorist strikes in Beersheba, Hadera, and Bnei Brak in recent weeks killed more than 11 people, making this Israel’s bloodiest spate of such incidents in many years. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Beersheba and Hadera strikes. Night riots in Jerusalem have been reported since Ramadan, with scores injured and jailed following conflicts between Palestinians and Israeli police forces.