Dozens of people were injured overnight in Jerusalem as clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque amid anger over planned forced evictions in annexed East Jerusalem.
At least 80 people were injured across Jerusalem on Sunday, the Palestine Red Crescent said in a statement. Several underage children were among the injured, including a one-year-old baby, and some 14 people have been hospitalized, the group added. One paramedic received injuries as well.
The tensions were particularly high around Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City. There was an especially high presence of Israeli police there, who were backed up by mounted units and water cannons. Palestinian youth clashed with the Israeli forces, pelting them with various projectiles and tearing down police barricades. The police fired rubber-coated bullets and repeatedly used stun grenades to contain the crowd.
Palestinians accused the Israeli police of trying to prevent them from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The latest clashes came as thousands of Muslims flocked to the Old City to celebrate Laylat al-Qadr on Saturday, one of the most revered nights in the holy month of Ramadan. According to Islamic belief, the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed on this night.
“They do not want us to pray. There is a fight every day, every day there are clashes. Every day there are troubles,” a Palestinian protester told Reuters at Damascus Gate.