Thousands protest in Turkey against Israeli offensive on Al-Aqsa Mosque

Published 05.11.2014 22:52
Updated 07.11.2014 14:37
Thousands protest in Turkey against Israeli offensive on Al-Aqsa Mosque

Thousands of people gathered in several Turksih provinces on Wednesday to protest the Israeli offensive in Al-Aqsa Mosque, and called for continued "resistance" against Israel.

The demonstrations were held after Israeli armed forces entered the al-Aqsa Mosque with shoes, trampled down the mihrab (a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque) and attacked Muslim worshippers in the mosque with plastic bullets, tear gas and grenades, leaving 27 Palestinians wounded.

In the capital Ankara, demonstrators waved Turkish and Palestinian flags outside the Israeli embassy, chanted slogans like "Masjid-i Aqsa is not alone, Masjid-i Aqsa is our pride," "Muslims, don't sleep, stand behind your brothers." Activists also gathered in the Istanbul's famous Istiklal Street in Taksim, there were also demonstrations in other provinces, including Bolu and Denizli.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state-a move never recognized by the international community.

In September 2000, a visit to the Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

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