Israeli police have entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as worshippers gathered for early morning prayers, two days after detaining hundreds at the site in another raid at the mosque.
Israeli authorities said they entered the compound on Sunday to facilitate routine visits by far-right Jews to the holy site and that Palestinians had stockpiled stones and set up barriers in the compound.
Palestinian medical workers said at least 19 people were injured. Three people were transferred to the hospital after being beaten or hit by rubber-coated bullets, according to The Palestinian Red Cross. The organisation said it was prevented from accessing the compound but managed to assist the injured near Bab al-Asbat.
Nine people were arrested, police said.
The police cleared Palestinians out of the sprawling esplanade outside the mosque, while dozens remained inside.
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday laid the blame on Israel for the consequences of the current tension at Al-Aqsa.
“We call on the US administration to break its silence and stop this aggression that will inflame the entire region,” authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement carried by state news agency Wafa.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also condemned the Israeli escalation at the flashpoint site. A ministry statement said the Israeli escalation flouted an Arab and Islamic backlash and was “a continuation of [Israeli] plans to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The head of Hamas warned Israel that “Al-Aqsa is ours and ours alone”.
“Our people have the right to access it and pray in it, and we will not bow down to (Israeli) repression and terror,” Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement.
“At Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line and the (Israeli) occupation forces bear responsibility for attacking worshippers and allowing settlers to desecrate the site,” the Hamas movement said .
The Palestinian Presidency urged the Palestinian people to head to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to defend it and confront the dangerous Israeli escalation, stressing its complete rejection Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s remarks.