Clashes erupt in Al-Aqsa Mosque as Israeli soldiers intrude
GAZA CITYJul 18, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Jul 18, 2014 12:00 am
Clashes erupted between Palestinian Muslim worshippers and Israeli forces inside East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Israeli soldiers stormed the compound early Friday afternoon.
"Around 100 Israeli police officers stormed the Al-Aqsa's courtyards and assaulted worshippers," one eyewitness told Anadolu Agency.
According to witnesses, Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets to disperse worshippers who were demonstrating against Israel's devastating military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip, now in its second week.
During the melee, Al-Aqsa Mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani was struck in the leg by a rubber bullet, the witness said.
The violence broke out as Israel stepped up restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem amid its ongoing offensive against the Gaza Strip, in which at least 264 Palestinians-mostly civilians-have been killed.
Israel's military operation, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is the Jewish state's third major offensive against the embattled Gaza Strip-home to some 1.8 million Palestinians-in the last six years.