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Hundreds injured after Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem amid ongoing Palestinian protests

Hundreds injured after Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem amid ongoing Palestinian protests
More than 300 injuries have been reported after Israeli forces raided Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, for the second time since Friday, amid soaring tensions over Israeli plans to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes.

Israeli security personnel used tear gas and stun grenades while storming the holy site, according to eyewitness reports. At least 305 people have been injured, according to the Palestine Red Crescent, with seven in critical condition. Nine officers sustained injuries during the clashes, Israeli police said. 

Footage posted to social media appears to show a skirmish outside the mosque between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Protesters can be seen throwing rocks as loud bangs are heard, likely from crowd-control munitions being fired by police.

Another clip posted to social media purportedly shows the moment Israeli forces entered the mosque. Shouting and loud bangs can be heard as tear gas pours into the building. Several bystanders can be heard coughing.

Authorities say that order has now been restored at the Temple Mount. According to reports, Israeli forces withdrew from the compound in the afternoon, allowing Palestinians who were sheltered inside the mosque to leave. Some worshippers were photographed cleaning up debris following the skirmish.

Those who stayed behind to help clean up in the aftermath of the violence collected piles of stun grenades, tear gas canisters, rocks, chairs, and other items that were used during the battle.

A spokesman for Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the “brutal storming” of the mosque, claiming it undermined peace efforts and presented a “new challenge to the international community.”

The European Union’s delegation to the Palestinians released a statement saying the bloc was “extremely concerned” by ongoing clashes in the Old City and urged all sides to refrain from violence. The diplomatic mission also called on Israel’s security forces to ensure that paramedics are able to offer aid to those who have been injured in the clashes.

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The violence comes after more than 200 Palestinians were injured in clashes with police across Jerusalem on Friday and into the weekend. On Friday night, Israeli police deployed large forces to Al-Aqsa mosque, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers had gathered for Ramadan prayers. The crowd started throwing chairs, rocks, and shoes at the police, who retaliated with rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades. 

Jerusalem has seen days of protests and unrest stemming from growing anger over the planned forced eviction of several Palestinian families living on land inside annexed sections of East Jerusalem. Israel intends to give the land to Jewish settlers. 

Israel announced on Monday that the Temple Mount, which includes Al-Aqsa mosque, will be closed to Jewish visitors due to the ongoing unrest. The decision comes as the country celebrates Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel regaining control over the Old City at the end of the 1967 Six-Day War.

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