Occupied East Jerusalem – Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday, injuring at least 16 Palestinians and arresting dozens.
Injuries reported included 14 with fractures from rubber-coated bullets and tear gas suffocation, the Sama al-Quds field medical centre told Al Jazeera.
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The Red Crescent reported two people were injured from beatings and taken to hospital for treatment.
About 50 Palestinian males, including the elderly and children, were arrested and escorted out of the compound from Bab al-Silsila (Chain Gate).
مصادر صحفية: قوات الاحتلال تعتقل عشرات الشبان من المسجد الأقصى قبل قليل وتنقلهم للتحقيق. pic.twitter.com/YyHCISVtrV
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At least 600 settlers raided the compound through the Moroccan Gate on Thursday between 7am to 11am. More were expected between 1:30pm to 2:30pm.
Settler incursions under police protection into the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound resumed after a 10-day pause during the last days of Ramadan, during which there were heightened tensions.
In a statement on Thursday, Hamas said settler incursions are “a serious escalation and direct provocation, threatening a comprehensive explosion, for which the occupation government bears full responsibility”.
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Israel is celebrating its establishment 74 years ago on Thursday in accordance with the Jewish calendar, which it refers to as Independence Day. Palestinians commemorate the day on May 15 as the Nakba or catastrophe – during which 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from historic Palestine.
The holy site has been the centre of days of violence amid heightened tensions following a series of attacks inside Israel and raids in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Last year, escalating tensions around the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem were the catalyst for widespread Palestinian protests across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli security forces during the holy month of Ramadan heightened tensions further, and four days later, an 11-day Israeli assault on Gaza began, ostensibly targeting Hamas facilities.