Al-Aqsa mosque: Dozens hurt in Jerusalem clashes

Clashes near Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem. Photo: 7 May 2021


At least 163 Palestinians and six Israeli police officers have been injured in clashes in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service and Israeli police said.

Most were hurt at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades as Palestinians threw stones and bottles.

Thousands had gathered there earlier to observe the last Friday of Ramadan.

The Red Crescent said it had opened a field hospital to treat the wounded.

Tensions have been high for days, with daily skirmishes over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes in east Jerusalem, to make way for Israeli settlers.

The Al-Aqsa mosque complex is one of Islam’s most revered locations, but is also a Jewish holy site, known as the Temple Mount. The site is a frequent flashpoint for violence, which unfolded again on Friday night.

Israeli Police said they had used force to “restore order” due to the “rioting of thousands of worshippers” after evening prayers.

An Aqsa official called for calm over the mosque’s loudspeakers. “Police must immediately stop firing stun grenades at worshippers, and the youth must calm down and be quiet!”, Reuters news agency quoted them as saying.

The Red Crescent said 88 of the injured Palestinians were taken to hospital after they were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets. Police said some of the six officers injured needed medical treatment.

Israeli police walk near the Dome of the Rock during clashes with Palestinians, 7 May


The international community also appealed for de-escalation on Friday as anger mounted over the threatened evictions in Jerusalem’s Shaikh Jarrah district.

A United Nations spokesman urged Israel to call off any evictions and urged “maximum restraint in the use of force” against protesters.

A US State Department spokeswoman said Washington was “deeply concerned about the heightened tensions”.

Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the long-running legal case on Monday.