Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 05 October 2012
What has been described by one Jerusalemite as a week from Hell under the Zionist occupation has culminated with violent Israeli attacks today on worshippers at Islam’s third holiest site.
According to eyewitnesses, scores of Israeli police stormed parts of Masjidul Aqsa after Jummuah prayers this afternoon as a group of worshippers peacefully protested against Israeli restrictions imposed at the site. Attacks were mounted on congregants within the main prayer hall of the mosque as well as in the surrounding courtyards and the Dome of the Rock.
Speaking to Cii, Jerusalem resident and academic at the al Quds University, Abeer Zayyad said the assault on the mosque was launched from the area of the Magharibah(Moroccan) gate and Israeli soldiers had also blockaded worshippers inside the mosque whilst the raid was underway. She said 23 Palestinians were known to have sustained injuries in the attack, mostly due to smoke and sound bombs that were deployed by the police.
A South African Muslim who was present at Masjidul Aqsa as the attack began said it had all the hallmarks of a premeditated assault. “There was quite a heavy presence of them(police) in the Masjid even prior to Salaah.” He described scenes of chaos as the attack unfolded. “After Salaah they stormed the Masjid, they ran into the Masjid with their shoes, desecrating it, throwing canisters, breaking Quraan desks, using water cannons. In the courtyards they fired live rounds of rubber bullets. Many women and children were injured and large numbers of Palestinians were arrested.”
Zayyad said the onslaught was the apex of a fortnight of violations at the Mosque co-inciding with the Jewish New Year. “They have been attacking the mosque everyday for the last two weeks. Each day there was problems inside the mosque, each day there were arrests. Jews were praying inside the mosque.”
She spoke of a prevailing climate of fear in the Holy City. “This has become a serious situation for Muslims, and even Christians inside Jerusalem. Yesterday, a church was attacked and very obscenities directed at Jesus(PBUH) were sprayed on the wall.”
Moulana Igsaan Hendricks of the Al Quds Foundation told Cii that the show of force by the Israeli police at the mosque today was unprecedented. He said Palestinian Islamic leader Sheikh Raed Salah had consistently been warning of a military buildup close to Masjid al Aqsa for several weeks already.
Whilst clashes had spread Friday only to other neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, he said the situation needed to be monitored carefully to examine the possibility of a wider outpouring of anger. “The Ummah should realise that we are at a point of no return..We have to stand with our brothers who are in the frontline of defending Masjidul Aqsa. Whatever they need to ensure the success of this resistance, we should provide it to them,” he added.Abeer Zayyad, Al Quds, Ebrahim Moosa, Israel, Jerusalem, Masjidul Aqsa, Zionists