Ten Palestinian worshippers injured as Israeli forces raid al-Aqsa Mosque
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Ten Palestinian worshippers injured as Israeli forces raid al-Aqsa Mosque

Local sources, requesting not to be named, told the Arabic-language Palestine al-Aan news agency that ten Palestinians sustained injuries on Tuesday evening after Israeli troops assaulted them at Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy) to the third-holiest site in Islam. The sources added that 15 other Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces inside the mosque as well. A majority of those arrested were reportedly seminary school students. The Palestinian sources identified some of those arrested as Mohammed Abu Shousha, Omar Zaghir, Omar Ouda, Hamza Zagir and Hisham al-Bashiti. Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported on Monday that Israeli soldiers had sealed off Bab al-Rahma with locks and iron chains a day earlier and prevented the Palestinian worshipers from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The agency said the Israeli move sparked clashes between Palestinian youths and the Tel Aviv regime forces, which resulted in the detention of five Palestinians, including a woman. Firas al-Dibs, spokesperson of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, said Israeli forces had installed the locks and chains at the gate in response to members of the organization performing prayers at the gate last Thursday. The al-Rahma Gate is a big building that lays to the east of the al-Aqsa Mosque. The building was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 as it was the headquarters of the Islamic Heritage Committee. Israel claimed at the time that the building was being used for political activities. In 2017, an Israeli court ordered that the building be closed until further notice. Tensions continue in the occupied territories following US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy to the occupied city. The dramatic shift in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis Jerusalem al-Quds on December 6, 2017 triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries. On December 21, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli “capital.” In an attempt to prevent the passing of the resolution, Trump threatened reprisals against countries that backed the measure, which had earlier faced a US veto at the UN Security Council. Despite the vote, the United States went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14 last year, triggering demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories and across the Muslim world. Angered by Trump’s move, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas boycotted his administration, saying Washington is no longer qualified to serve as the sole mediator in the decades-long conflict with Israel, and that an international mechanism should be devised to replace the US in the so-called peace process.

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