Thousands of Palestinian Muslims flocked to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in
Jerusalem today to celebrate Lailat al-Qadr, one of the holiest days in
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  They were met by Israeli riot
police and military, who fired tear gas and concussion grenades, as well as beating
Palestinian worshippers on their way to the Mosque.


Today is the holiday of Lailat al-Qadr, which commemorates the day on which Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed received the words of the Q'uran from God, and occurs in the third week of the holy month of Ramadan.

But many of the Palestinian worshippers who attempted to enter Jerusalem today to worship were prevented from even entering their Holy City by Israeli forces who stopped them at Qalandia, Bethlehem and Ar-Ram checkpoints.

Sheikh Taysir Tamimi is the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, stated in an interview with the IMEMC, "Residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are being barred from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Islam calls for all Muslims to travel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and pray there.  What the Israeli Occupation is doing has made it impossible for Muslims to freely enter the holy city without being subjected to the unjust procedures of the Occupation."


Israeli forces have attacked Mosques several times since Ramadan began three weeks ago.  In Hebron, the Ibrahimi Mosque has been closed by Israeli soldiers for most of Ramadan, and when it opened yesterday a number of worshippers were injured by Israeli soldiers firing live ammunition at Palestinians entering the Mosque.  Ramadan is expected to end on Sunday.