A member of Israeli security forces runs amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, on May 7, 2021. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
JERUSALEM - Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday amid growing anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
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A total of 205 Palestinians have been injured, said the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which set up a field hospital on the site to provide the injured with medical assistance.
A total of 205 Palestinians have been injured, said the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which set up a field hospital on the site to provide the injured with medical assistance
Tension has mounted in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah - a neighborhood where numerous Palestinian families face eviction in a long-running legal case.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians packed into the hilltop compound surrounding the mosque earlier on Friday for prayers. Many stayed on to protest against the evictions in the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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But following the evening meal that breaks the Ramadan fast, clashes broke out at Al-Aqsa with smaller scuffles near Sheikh Jarrah, which sits near the walled Old City's famous Damascus Gate.
Police used water cannon mounted on armoured vehicles to disperse several hundred protesters gathered near the homes of families facing potential eviction.
"If we don't stand with this group of people here, (evictions) will (come) to my house, her house, his house and to every Palestinian who lives here," said protester Bashar Mahmoud, 23, from the nearby Palestinian neighbourhood of Issawiya.
An Aqsa official appealed for calm on the compound through the mosque's loudspeakers. "Police must immediately stop firing stun grenades at worshippers, and the youth must calm down and be quiet!"
Israel's Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions on Monday, the same day that Israel marks Jerusalem Day - its annual celebration of its capture of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war.
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