Israeli forces attack Palestinian worshippers and obstruct paramedics in Al Aqsa Mosque raid

On 5 April, Israeli forces stormed Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem and attacked worshippers inside, in the latest example of an explosion of military violence against Palestinians in the West Bank this year.

According to witnesses, Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steels bullets in an attempt to clear them out of the mosque where they were planning to stay overnight, as is a long-standing tradition in the holy month of Ramadan. Video footage shared online shows Israeli forces beating worshippers and reported damage to the clinic inside the compound.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reported that its medical teams were prevented from entering the compound to reach the wounded, though it treated 12 injured people outside. “One of the injured was a PRCS paramedic, who was assaulted. Two of our ambulances were also directly targeted, one with a rubber-coated steel bullet and the other with a sound bomb,” said Mohammad Fityani, spokesperson for the PRCS.

At least 400 Palestinians were arrested following the attacks and have been detained at an Israeli police station in Atarot, in East Jerusalem, many of whom are wounded. “Our ambulances are outside Atarot police station treating the injured as they are released from detention,” said Mohammad.

Following attacks on worshippers at Al Aqsa, armed groups in blockaded Gaza fired rockets into Israel, and the Israeli military responded by targeting several sites early on Wednesday morning.

Escalating Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians this year has compounded the already dire healthcare situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with thousands of Palestinians injured including more than a hundred shot with live ammunition since January.

Local health services are under immense pressure to respond to the influx of injuries, and lack many essential resources to do so. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is continuing to provide essential medicines and supplies to hospitals, and first aid kits to first responders and volunteers.

We are also deeply concerned by the danger that violence against Palestinians could escalate further in East Jerusalem during Ramadan and risk spill-over into Gaza. MAP will continue to monitor the situation, and stands ready to respond to emerging health needs.

Please support our emergency response to ensure Palestinian health workers have the supplies they need to save lives.

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Photo: Israeli forces in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem (Credit: William Parry / MAP).

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