14 injured in Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa worshippers

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Israeli security forces fire sound grenades inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019, as clashes broke out during the overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and the Tisha B'av holdiay inside the hisotric compound which is considered the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews. (AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI)
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Palestinians carry an injured person during clashes with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Aug 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
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Updated 12 August 2019

14 injured in Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa worshippers

  • The clashes erupted after the Israeli police and government allowed Jewish extremists to visit the site
  • Jews are barred from praying at the compound under a longstanding arrangement between Israel and Muslim authorities

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.




Israeli security forces scuffle with Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (AFP / Ahmad Gharabli)

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.”

Mahdi Abdul Hadi, director of the PASSIA think tank in Jerusalem and a member of the Waqf council, told Arab News the decision to delay the prayer time and to call people to Al-Aqsa was wise.

“Jerusalemites sent a strong message that has defeated attempts at storming the mosque, but the blind military machine injured youth, women, and children in order to try and enforce its dominion on Al-Aqsa,” he said.

“The people of Jerusalem defeated similar attempts in 1928, 1969, 2017 and now in 2019.”

Nasser Laham, editor of the independent Palestinian website Maan News, told Arab News the Israeli media was exaggerating and contributing to the violence. “A quick look at their headlines and you can see them full of lies, incitement, and violence,” he said.

Jamal Dajani, former head of the Palestinian prime minister’s media office, said the actions of the Israeli government were intentional. “Netanyahu is deliberately allowing extremist colonial settlers to antagonize Palestinian worshippers during Eid in order to provoke clashes and have a pretext to take control of Al-Aqsa, just as was done with Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron,” he said on Twitter.


Iraqi security forces raid Baghdad’s main protest camp, shoot at demonstrators

Updated 25 January 2020

Iraqi security forces raid Baghdad’s main protest camp, shoot at demonstrators

  • The clashes took place after authorities began removing concrete barriers near Tahrir Square and across at least one main bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad
  • Security forces began the raids just hours after populist cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said he wound halt the involvement of his supporters in the anti-government unrest

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces raided Baghdad’s main protest site at Tahrir Square on Saturday, firing live rounds and tear gas at anti-government demonstrators who have camped out there for months, Reuters reporters said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties but at least seven people were wounded in clashes with police earlier in the day, medics and security sources said.
The clashes took place after authorities began removing concrete barriers near Tahrir Square and across at least one main bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad.
In the southern city of Basra, security forces raided the main anti-government sit-in overnight and deployed in force to stop protesters gathering there again, security sources said. Police arrested at least 16 protesters in Basra, they said.
The actions appeared to be an attempt to fully clear out anti-government sit-ins and end months of popular demonstrations that have called for the removal of Iraq’s entire ruling elite.
Security forces began the raids just hours after populist cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said he wound halt the involvement of his supporters in the anti-government unrest.
Sadr had supported the demands of protesters for the removal of corrupt politicians and provision of services and jobs soon after the demonstrations began in October but stopped short of calling all his followers to join in.
Many of Sadr’s millions of supporters who hail from Baghdad’s slums have been involved in demonstrations, however.
Sadr’s followers held a march on Friday calling for a removal of US troops from the country in a rally separate from the anti-government protests. The march, which some observers expected to descend into violence, dissipated after several hours.
Sadr wrote on Twitter late on Friday that he would “try not to interfere in the issue (of protesters), either negatively or positively, so that they can shepherd the fate of Iraq.” He did not elaborate.
In Basra, protesters urged Sadr to reconsider what they said was a withdrawal of support for popular demonstrations. In a letter circulated on social media, they called for the support of Sadrists, without whom they feared attacks by security forces.