A GROUP of Israeli military forces and settlers have stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds and clashed with Muslim Palestinian worshippers there, in yet another sacrilegious act of aggression against the holy site.
Israeli occupation forces on Thursday attacked the al-Qibli prayer hall at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims, and fired sound grenades and rubber bullets toward the Palestinian worshippers, amid rising tensions in the run-up to the 74th anniversary of Nakba Day (Catastrophe Day).
The Nakba Day refers to the occasion when the Israeli entity proclaimed existence in the occupied Palestinian territories in mid-May 1948 and drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians out of their homeland. Israelis celebrated the occasion on May 4-5 this year.
Nakba Day is set as May 15 every year, but Israelis celebrate what they call their Independence Day in accordance with the Hebrew calendar. Since the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars do not correspond, the two events may fall days apart in any given year.
The Israeli forces assaulted and chased Muslim worshippers to make way for settlers to enter the holy site after smashing one of its gates.
The fresh scuffles broke out after the flashpoint al-Quds holy site was reopened to Israeli visitors.
According to Palestinian media reports, Israeli forces used tear gas to disperse Palestinians at the site. At least 12 worshippers were injured while dozens suffocated from the tear gas.
The Israeli police arrested one of the Palestinian worshippers sheltered inside the mosque itself and took him to an unknown place.
Meanwhile, far right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque. During a speech, he called for the regime to change the status quo of the holy site by constructing Jewish synagogues and temples there.
Also on Thursday, a spokesman for the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, based in Gaza, hailed fellow Palestinians for their heroic steadfastness in facing Israeli military forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying their ‘great bravery’ will thwart the conspiracies of the occupiers.
Hazem Qassem said the fear and anxiety that have filled the Zionist regime’s institutions and settlers show their defeat in the face of the Palestinian nation’s will and resistance.
He emphasised that Al-Aqsa was and will remain a holy Islamic, Arab and Palestinian site.
In a statement, Jasser al-Barghouti, head of Hamas’ national relations office in the West Bank, warned the Tel Aviv regime against crossing ‘red lines’ at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Hamas also cautioned the regime against ‘playing with fire and dragging the region into an escalation for which the occupation bears full responsibility’.
A senior Hamas official has warned Israel against ongoing aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied al-Quds, emphasising that the sacred site serves as a ‘red line’ for all Palestinians.
Israel sharply escalated its deadly attacks against Palestinians in the run-up to the month of Ramadan and sustained the violence throughout the fasting month.
A similar wave of tensions in May 2021 led to a full-scale war between Gaza and Israel. Shocked by the significantly developed military capabilities of Palestinian resistance groups, the regime was forced to announce a unilateral ceasefire.
Back then, the humiliation prompted the Israeli minister for military affairs to step down, further destabilising the already shaky coalition administration in Tel Aviv.
- Despite its claims to be advocating human rights, the Canadian government is giving in to mounting pressure from pro-Israeli lobby groups to expel a Palestinian journalist and activist on false charges of promoting anti-Semitism.
Khaled Barakat, who lives in the Canadian city of Vancouver, has been accused by pro-Israeli lobbies, who sway great power in the North American country, of being anti-Semite and inciting attacks against Israel. He has already rejected all those charges.
Even the Canadian daily, the National Post, has also called on the government to deport the Palestinian journalist, alleging that he is linked to a Gaza-based NGO and a pro-Palestine NGO in Canada. However, the Canadian NGO, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, has rejected the assertion, noting that Barakat has been targeted by a smear campaign.
‘This is a smear campaign and a racist campaign led by the right-wing in Canada, particularly the National Post, known for their stance which is pro-Israel and against Palestinians and Arabs,’ Barakat said in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Thursday. ‘They want to divert the attention from what is happening in Canada and what is happening in Palestine.’
Barakat said student councils in four major Canadian universities recently voted to boycott Israel and to sanction Israel for the violation of Palestinian rights, adding that they called for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea as well as the decolonisation of Palestine.
‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is a slogan commonly featured in pro-Palestinian campaigns and chanted at demonstrations, signalling a call for a Palestinian state extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, the territory controlled by the Israeli regime.
Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to the UN has denounced deadly raids by Israeli forces against Palestinians in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, urging immediate action to halt the aggression.
Stressing that there is ‘awareness’ among young Canadian generations, especially young students and workers, the activist said, ‘They are supporting Palestinian rights and calling for the boycott of the apartheid racist regime of Israel; so, the Zionist lobby is trying to divert the attention from what is happening and to create this false story to scare the Canadian public and to tell them that you should be scared of this person who lives in Canada.’
Barakat told Press TV, ‘Israel also wants to divert the attention from Palestine because of the crimes they commit on a daily basis against Palestinians and so they don’t want people to talk about this, but this campaign is a complete failure.’
The Palestinian journalist said the Israeli regime wants to use these tools of oppression ‘to silence our voice and to besiege Palestinians everywhere they go, whether they are in Gaza, in Lebanon or Canada.’
Barakat said Israelis want to stoke fear because fear is one of the tools that the Zionist regime has used all the time, adding that such measures will ‘not intimidate us and stop us as we are focusing on our campaign and intensifying our work more and more’.
Israel sharply escalated its deadly attacks against Palestinians in the run-up to the month of Ramadan and sustained the violence throughout the fasting month, stirring up anti-Tel Aviv sentiments further throughout the occupied territories.
A group of Israeli military forces and settlers have stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds and engaged in clashes with Muslim Palestinian worshippers there.
The regime has also ramped up its violent attacks on Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds in recent weeks.
Last week, thousands of people across the globe took to the streets on International Quds Day to deplore Israeli violence against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and elsewhere in the occupied territories.
Since last month, at least 25 Palestinians have been killed in attacks by Israeli forces across the occupied territories.
International Quds Day falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, during which rallies are held to keep alive the notion of resistance till the freedom of Palestine from the clutches of Zionist usurpers. Originally introduced by Iran, this year the day fell on April 29.