Israeli forces used tear gas and rubber bullets on Palestinian worshippers, injuring at least 42 people on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Witnesses and reporters said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on worshippers.
Witnesses and reporters said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on worshippers. (Reuters)

At least 42 Palestinians have been injured in occupied east Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound as Israeli forces conducted another raid on the holy site after dawn prayer.

The attack on worshippers came on the final Friday in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. None of the injuries were serious, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, adding that 22 people had been taken to hospital.

Israeli police blocked all entrances into the compound during the raid as the Jewish state continued to limit Palestinian access to Islam’s third holiest site.

Witnesses and reporters said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

Israel's police claim that forces entered the compound after "rioters" hurled stones and fireworks, including down towards the Western Wall, the sacred Jewish site below Al Aqsa Mosque.

Police said three people had been arrested, two for throwing stones and one for "inciting the mob".

READ MORE: Timeline of violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque reveals a horrifying pattern

Violation of decades-old arrangements

The compound has seen Israeli attacks on worshippers violently increase during the month of Ramadan throughout April, and around 300 Palestinians have been injured in these attacks.

Muslim leaders have been angered by the recent uptick in Israeli raids as well as visits into the compound by Jewish settlers, voicing concern that Israel is potentially seeking to divide the compound and create a space for Jewish worship as the state continues to push into Palestinian territory.  

Violence in occupied East Jerusalem has raised fears of another conflict similar to last year’s Israeli aggression on Gaza triggered by a similar unrest at the holy site.

The Palestinians say the presence of Israeli police at the site, and regular visits by increasing numbers of nationalist and religious Jews, are a violation of decades-old informal arrangements governing the site.

The visits were halted last week for the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which concludes this weekend.

Tens of thousands of Muslims are expected to attend the main Friday prayers at midday. 

Earlier this week, an estimated 250,000 worshippers gathered at the site for Laylat al Qadr, a night of intense prayers that marks the culmination of Ramadan, with no reports of violence.

READ MORE: Jordan 'pushing' to restore Al Aqsa Mosque status quo

Source: TRTWorld and agencies