Clashes between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian protesters erupted in Jerusalem yesterday after the Friday prayer and continued until late evening. Tens of Palestinians were wounded and detained.
The protests took place after the newly founded Palestinian Youth Coalition called for youths from all over the country to take to the streets on Friday to show their anger over Israel’s continuing aggressions against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli police and occupation forces were present in great numbers in several areas around the holy city, and prevented worshipers below the age of 50 years from reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the Friday prayer.
Clashes erupted when Palestinian youths tried to attend the weekly prayer and the Israeli occupation forces used tear gas to deter them.
The clashes extended to several other neighbourhoods within the holy city. Israeli forces, helped by settlers and plainclothes agents, reportedly detained at least 13 protesters. While Palestinian sources believe that the number is more, no information has emerged yet to confirm this.
A correspondent from Jordan’s newspaper Al-Sabeel reported that a number of protesters were wounded, but so far the information has not been confirmed by either Palestinian or Israeli sources.
Witnesses said that Israeli forces stormed the Al-Ezariya neighbourhood in Jerusalem and fired several tear gas canisters and sound bursts. They also used water cannons to pump sewage at the protesters, who responded by throwing stones and empty bottles.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces closed the main entrance of the Anata neighbourhood to the northeast of Jerusalem and fired a large number of tear gas canisters during clashes with the residents there, causing many Palestinians to suffocate.
At the same time, protesters in the Al-Issawiya neighbourhood closed the main streets and prevented Israeli forces from entering by incinerating tires and throwing stones at the armoured Israeli military vehicles.
Large protests and clashes were also reported in other Palestinian cities in both the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. Many protesters and journalists suffered from the Israeli tear gas fired to disperse the protesters.
Palestinian Youth Coalition affirmed that this is the beginning of a new intifada. Last Wednesday they distributed a statement calling for coordinated action.