Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque with military boots
Tensions running high after Jewish extremists called on followers to storm mosque during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year
Dozens of Israeli forces on Tuesday stormed occupied East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and attacked Muslim worshipers for the third day in a row.
Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at worshipers near the compound’s iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Qibali Mosque.
"At least 120 Israeli special forces and police officers stormed the compound and attacked Muslim worshipers,” one eyewitness said.
"Israeli forces went up to the roof of Al-Qibali Mosque, destroyed its historical gates and fired rubber bullets and gas bombs inside the building,” Omar al-Qiswani, Al-Aqsa Mosque's director, said. "They entered the mosque with their military boots and arrested a Palestinian youth after beating him.”
Al-Qiswani said the mosque has been destroyed from inside because of the repeated attacks and would take at least one year to repair.
Witnesses said Israeli forces sealed the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque and barred men and women of all ages from entering.
Tensions has been running high at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex after Jewish extremists called on followers to storm the mosque during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
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.
Some extremist Jewish groups have called for the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque so that a Jewish temple might be built in its place.
In September 2000, a visit to 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.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
Last Modified: 2015-09-15 09:32:21
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