Eyewitnesses say the police shot 26-year-old Mohammed Alasibi at least 10 times after he tried to prevent them from harassing a woman who was on her way to the holy compound of Al Aqsa.
Israeli forces have opened fire and killed a Palestinian man who they alleged tried to snatch an officer’s gun at the entrance of Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli police on Friday claimed in a statement that a Palestinian attempted to take the weapon of an Israeli policeman near the Bab al Silsila (Chain Gate) — one of Al Aqsa Mosque's main gates, in the Old City.
Israeli police "neutralised" the Palestinian by shooting, it said. Israeli forces were not harmed in the incident, while additional police forces were sent to the area, it said.
However, Palestinian worshippers at the entrance to the site on Saturday morning said police shot the man at least 10 times after he tried to prevent them from harassing a woman who was on her way to the holy compound, home to Al Aqsa Mosque in the heart of occupied Jerusalem’s Old City — the third holiest shrine in Islam.
Noureddine, a 17-year-old who lived in the neighbourhood and declined to give his last name for fear of reprisals, said he saw Alasibi confront police who had stopped a female worshipper on her way to Al Aqsa Mosque.
“Nothing could justify that many shots,” he said, pointing to chaotic footage he filmed that showed Palestinian vendors and worshippers screaming at the sound of bullets being fired in rapid succession. “They were fired at close range.”
Returned to hometown a month ago
The police said the slain man was 26-year-old Mohammed Alasibi from Hura, a Bedouin Arab village in southern Israel.
Alasibi's family said he was a physician who had recently passed his exams and earned his MD in Romania. He returned to his hometown a month ago, his cousin said, and was caring for his sick father as he worked to get certified in Israel.
“He is a polite, kind man from a family of doctors who was going to Al Aqsa for spiritual reasons,” his cousin Fahad Alasibi said. “If you want us to believe that he tried to attack police, then show us the security footage.”
Meanwhile, Israeli forces attacked Palestinians at the Bab al Qattanin, one of the gates which leads into Al Aqsa Mosque from the western side.
Israeli police battered Palestinians at the gate with truncheons, witnesses told the Anadolu Agency.
READ MORE: Israel announces restrictions on Palestinian entry to Al Aqsa in Ramadan
#عاجل— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) March 31, 2023
سماع إطلاق الرصاص من المسجد الأقصى ... توتر في المكان pic.twitter.com/lI22w1hj6r
Thousands of troops across occupied Jerusalem
Israeli police said more than 100,000 people had gathered to pray at Islam's third holiest site.
More than 2,000 police officers were deployed throughout the city.
The Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands has seen an upsurge of violence since the beginning of the year, raising fears of a flare-up during Ramadan.
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Arab-Israel war.
Over 700,000 illegal Israeli settlers now live in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.
The international community, along with Palestine, considers settlement construction illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.
READ MORE: Israeli troops kill four Palestinians in Jenin raid: West Bank officials