Occupation soldiers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque for the second time in 48 hours

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At about 7:00 am local time, hundreds of special forces entered the mosque’s courtyards and began beating Palestinians celebrating Ramadan with batons in an attempt to force them out. There were also reports of stun grenades being deployed.

In the silver-domed Qibla prayer hall, Israeli forces fired tear gas at the worshipers and blocked them inside. For more than three hours, the dozens of people trapped inside were unable to evacuate the lightly injured people.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced that its paramedics were prevented from entering the mosque to provide first aid. Inside the Dome of the Rock hall in the center of the mosque complex, chapels were also banned and were not allowed to leave.

People trapped inside the Qibla hall appealed for help using loudspeakers, urging Palestinians to come and protect Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli forces reportedly tried to reach the sound system room afterwards to cut off the loudspeakers.

Meanwhile, dozens of Israelis, under the protection of heavily armed forces, stormed the mosque’s courtyards after they had been emptied of Palestinians.

Israeli activists from the far-right and settler groups had announced plans to storm Al-Aqsa this week in large numbers, starting on Sunday, on the occasion of the Jewish Passover holiday.

In the Old City outside Al-Aqsa, some Palestinians threw stones at buses carrying Israelis heading to Al-Aqsa, slightly injuring five. The Israeli occupation forces arrested two people in connection with the incident.

Small Palestinian protests took place near the Assad Gate in the Old City as the raid continued.

Eyewitnesses said that before dawn, the Israeli forces intensified their presence outside the gates of Al-Aqsa and imposed restrictions on Palestinians attempting to enter the mosque to pray.

The raid comes 48 hours after another violent attempt by Israeli forces to purge Al-Aqsa of Muslim worshipers on Friday.

More than 150 people were injured and at least 450 were arrested when Israeli forces fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas and sound bombs into the mosque’s courtyards and prayer halls.

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the imam of al-Aqsa, told MEE that the raid was a “deliberate and premeditated attack” against Palestinians.

The 82-year-old added: “They want to deter Muslims from coming to the mosque and allow Jewish intruders to storm Al-Aqsa.”

Next to the police, settlers enter Al-Aqsa Mosque almost daily, showing complete disregard for the Palestinian Muslim administration at the site and the thousands of worshipers who are usually present at the site.

These raids were often scaled back and sometimes called off during Muslim holidays, such as during the holy month of Ramadan.

However, that has changed in recent years, and settlers have also begun to perform prayers inside the mosque as they storm the mosque, in violation of the internationally agreed status quo.

Israel’s control of occupied East Jerusalem, including the Old City, violates several principles under international law, which state that an occupying power has no sovereignty over the territory it occupies and cannot make any permanent changes there.

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