Israeli forces beat, bar thousands from Eid prayers

Around 40,000 worshippers attended Eid al-Adha prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque [Getty]

Around 40,000 Palestinians performed Eid al-Adha prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, amid restrictions imposed by occupying Israeli forces.

Al-Aqsa director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told The New Arab‘s Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby al-Jadeed, that worshippers were beaten by Israeli forces, who¬†prevented thousands of young men from entering the gates of the mosque compound.

Dozens were injured from beatings with batons and rifle butts, particularly at the King Faisal, Hatta and Al-Silsilah Gates.

During the Eid sermon, Sheikh Youssef Abu Sneineh addressed the Israeli restrictions on Al-Aqsa, as well as Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

Israel’s war on on the besieged Palestinian enclave has killed over 37,296 and wounded 85,197 since October, the Gaza health ministry said on Saturday. During the same period, Israeli forces and settlers have stepped up raids in the occupied West Bank, where over 500 Palestinians have been killed.

Palestinians are marking Eid at the Al-Aqsa Mosque just days after the extremist Temple Mount in Our Hands group stormed the Muslim holy site to mark the Jewish holiday of Shavout. The Jewish extremists performed religious rituals at he Al-Aqsa compound, acts which are forbidden under the Status Quo agreement.

Israelis use the term “Temple Mount” to refer to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third most holy site in the Islamic faith. Israeli extremists wish to demolish the mosque and rebuild a Jewish temple thought to have existed there in ancient times.

Decades-long conventions and international agreements, including the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty, allow Muslims to pray at the site with little restrictions while banning prayers and rituals by non-Muslims, who can only enter as visitors.

Israeli far-right ministers, politicians, rabbis and extremist settlers have violated this by frequently storming the site and taking part in provocative rituals there.

Earlier in June, dozens of Jewish extremists marked the annual ‘Flag Day’ by chanting anti-Palestinian slogans, waving Israeli flags, and singing nationalist songs while marching through Palestinian areas of Jerusalem near the holy site.

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