Viral videos from inside Islam’s third holiest site show women and children screaming for help as Israeli troops carry out merciless attack.
Israeli planes have struck Gaza in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave after Israeli police raided the Al Aqsa Mosque compound overnight.
Hamas Radio reported that the Israeli strikes early on Wednesday hit several targets within Gaza city and in a refugee camp.
There were no immediate reports on casualties in Gaza.
The air strikes come after Israeli troops stormed Islam’s third holiest site in occupied East Jerusalem, using gas bombs and sound grenades while Palestinians pray on the second week of Ramadan.
Witnesses and Palestinian Red Crescent also reported that Israeli troops have beaten up worshipers, leaving many wounded, raising fears of wider tensions.
Later on, the Palestinian Red Crescent said 12 Palestinians were wounded from rubber-tipped bullets and beatings. It added that Israeli forces were preventing its medics from reaching the area.
Viral videos from inside Islam’s third holiest site showed women and children screaming for help as Israeli troops carry out the attack.
“I was sitting on a chair reciting [Quran],” an elderly woman told the Reuters news agency outside the mosque, struggling to catch her breath. “They hurled stun grenades, one of them hit my chest,” she said as she began to cry.
The worshipers chanted anti-Israel slogans as they were forced to leave the mosque. Israeli soldiers also smashed windows of the southern part of the mosque, witnesses said.
Israeli police said in a statement they arrested dozens of Palestinians who were practicing itikaf, a religious practice in which Muslims stay in the mosque overnight to pray and recite Holy Quran.
Palestinian lawyer Firas al Jibrini said police arrested around 500 people who were taken for questioning. Israeli police said they have arrested more than 350 people.
The Israeli violence in occupied East Jerusalem triggered a wave protests and condemnations from Palestinians.
“We warn the occupation against crossing red lines at holy sites, which will lead to a big explosion,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In a statement, Türkiye’s foreign ministry called the latest raid at Al Alqsa “unacceptable”.
The foreign ministry also said it is concerned about the overall surge of violence against Palestinians.
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry also condemned Israel’s “flagrant” storming of Al Aqsa Mosque while Egypt called for immediate halt to Israel’s “blatant assault” on Palestinian worshippers.
Saudi Arabia condemned Israeli police action, saying it undermines peace efforts.
Meanwhile, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said: “The extremist approaches that control the policy of the Israeli government will lead to widespread confrontations with the Palestinians if they are not put to an end.”
The organisation is expected to hold an emergency meeting later on Wednesday over the incident.
Jordan had called for the meeting in coordination with Egypt and Palestinian officials.
Back in besieged Gaza, Hamas called for large protests and people started gathering in the streets, with calls to head for the heavily guarded Gaza-Israel fence for more demonstrations.
The Israeli military said nine rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel, of which at least four were intercepted and four landed in open areas.
Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Violence has surged over the last year, as the Israeli military has carried out near-nightly raids on Palestinian cities, towns and villages.
At least 88 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops this year, according to an Associated Press tally. Palestinian attacks against Israelis have left 15 people dead in the same period.
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It vacated from Gaza in 2005 and has since imposed a harsh blockade from land, air and sea on the tiny Palestinian enclave.
Over 700,000 illegal Israeli settlers now live in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.
Source: TRT World