More than 300 persons have been hurt in clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Monday, ahead of a planned Jewish nationalist march to mark the anniversary of East Jerusalem’s capture in a 1967 war.
Israeli police fired tear gas, stun grenades, sound bombs and rubber-coated bullets at hundreds of Palestinian worshippers who in turn threw stones back at them.
Al-Aqsa mosque is Islam’s third-holiest site located on a hilltop complex known by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and by Jews as the Temple Mount.
According to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country was determined to uphold law and order in Jerusalem while preserving “freedom of worship and tolerance for all”.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accused “Israeli occupation forces” of conducting a “brutal raid” at al-Aqsa.
Reacting to the clashes, the White House pleaded with Israel to ensure calm during “Jerusalem Day” annual celebration. Fahrettin Altun, press aide to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter wrote “We call out to the Islamic world; it is time to stop Israel’s cruel and cruel attacks. We call out to all humanity; this is the time to declare the statute of terror. This is our historical and human responsibility. Even if we stay alone, we will fight this tyranny.”
A hearing that was to hold by Israel’s Supreme Court in the long-running case on Monday was postponed due to the unrest.