Israeli police, this morning, turned back busloads of worshipers en route from northern Israel to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Police deployed at the entrances of Jerusalem turned back worshipers from Galilee and the Triangle region, in the north of present-day Israel, making their way to Al-Aqsa for Friday morning prayers.
Police also barged their way into the flashpoint mosque compound, where they shoved and assaulted worshipers, following the morning prayer.
Worshipers slammed the action as an infringement upon their freedom of worship and as a form of collective punishment against them.
This came as Israeli occupation authorities boosted military reinforcements in Jerusalem and across the West Bank.
According to Hebrew sources, yesterday, Israeli ambulance crews reported that a Palestinian youth was seriously wounded after being shot by the occupation forces, on the pretext that he tried to carry out a stabbing operation in the Bab Al-Asbat area of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Jerusalemites reported that the occupation forces closed all the doors of the mosque, after news that an occupying policeman was wounded in the Bab Al-Asbat area in occupied Jerusalem, where occupation soldiers prevented any Palestinian from entering the mosque.
This also comes a day after three Palestinians were gunned down by Israeli military fire, in separate areas of the West bank, where 12 soldiers were injured when a Palestinian motorist drove into them, in West Jerusalem.
The latest spike in violence was triggered by the recent announcement of the US-touted Mideast peace plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century,” which cements Israel’s longstanding policy of permanent occupation, colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people.
Messianic Jewish settlers are hoping to establish an increased presence on the site of the mosque, among the most important Muslim shrines in the world and potent symbols of Palestinian nationalism, and calling for building a third temple on what they term the “Temple Mount”.
Their far-right beliefs were once considered a small fringe movement, but, in recent years, they have found favor with the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, receiving the endorsement of many lawmakers.
Settlers incursions into the mosque compound, coupled with the takeover of church property, in Jerusalem, are perceived as part of the plan to transform a multi-religious and multi-cultural city into a “reunified” Jewish city under the exclusive control and sovereignty of Israel.