Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Israeli forces raid Al-Aqsa for second night

Israeli forces have raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for a second consecutive night, firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian worshippers.

The second attack took place against the site — Islam’s third-holiest, which is located in the Old City of the holy occupied city of al-Quds — on Wednesday.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has said, “Israel’s raid into Al-Aqsa mosque, its assault on worshippers, is a slap to recent US efforts which tried to create calm and stability during the month of Ramadan.”

Abu Rudeineh is referring to the summits held in the Egyptian and Jordanian towns of Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba respectively, where officials from the US, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Jordan agreed on a series of steps to de-escalate violence in the occupied territories.

Mustafa Barghouti, the general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, has called the latest violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque a “very serious provocation that will definitely lead to an escalation”.

“And maybe that’s what the Israeli government wants,” he told Al Jazeera, adding, “They want to distract attention from their internal divisions, from the demonstrations that are taking place inside Israel against this government, and they want to drag this whole region into an explosion.”

Barghouti blamed the violence, in part, on the appointment of Itamar Ben-Gvir as Israel’s minister of national security, stressing, “This Israeli government is using religion for nationalist causes.”

“This is unprecedented that the mosque would be attacked twice in the same day, people would be injured, elderly people would be attacked, children, women in the morning. And now preventing medical teams from reaching them,” he continued.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, also condemned Israeli action at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in a press conference on Wednesday, saying it is the “exclusive right of the Palestinian Muslims” to practise their religious traditions there.

“It is the right of the Palestinian Muslim worshippers to exercise their religious duties and prayers in this holy month of Ramadan and in any other time in this holy Aqsa Mosque,” Mansour stated, adding, “The Israeli occupying authority has no right whatsoever to tell people when to pray and when not to pray.”

The UN chief has condemned Israeli forces’ violence against the Palestinian worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound.

The spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “shocked and appalled” by images of Israeli forces beating people at the al-Aqsa Mosque.

The UN chief stressed that places of worship should only be used for peaceful religious observances.

Guterres “is shocked and appalled by the images he saw this morning of the violence and beating by Israeli security forces inside the Al-Qibli Mosque in Jerusalem at a time of the calendar which is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims,” Stephane Dujarric stated at a news conference.

“This should be a time for peace and non-violence,” he added.

Dujarric echoed a statement from UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland who called on political, religious and community leaders on all sides to reject incitement, inflammatory rhetoric and provocative actions.

Diplomats have confirmed that the UN Security Council will hold an emergency session on Thursday to discuss the violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The closed-door meeting was called at the request of the United Arab Emirates and China, diplomats told the Reuters news agency.

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