Clashes broke out at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday morning as Israeli forces opened two gates to tourists and settlers during the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
As the gates opened, a group of Jewish settlers entered the compound under military escort, a group of Palestinian boys praying at Al-Aqsa immediately went to the gate and tried to ward off the intruders. It took a handful of Israeli soldiers to push the boys back, an eyewitness told MEMO.
Israeli forces returned with reinforcement to cordon off the compound. According to an official Israeli statement, the four masked Palestinians “disrupted” the settlers’ visit.
Visitors and worshippers formed a human shield around the Al-Aqsa Mosque’s entrance where the boys took cover. The occupation forces made advances towards the mosque but were unable to enter it.
After calling in reinforcements the Israelis forces charged and clashed with the worshippers beating them with batons.
Worshippers resorted to using leftover food from their Suhoor, the meal eaten before the start of the fast, to defend themselves.
The occupation forces then fired rubber coated bullets to disperse the crowds. Despite the bullets which ricocheted from the mosque doors, Israeli forces were not successful in gaining access to Al-Aqsa Mosque. However they arrested three Palestinians.
During the unrest, settlers were able to tour the compound.