Israeli police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City early Wednesday and arrested more than 350 people, and beat others. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also said on Wednesday that nine rockets were fired from Gaza Strip toward Israel.
The Israeli raid on the Al Aqsa Mosque came during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. The Middle East Eye reported that hundreds of men, women, and children were staying overnight to pray, in a practice called Itikaf. The Israeli government controls access to Al Aqsa Mosque and prohibits Itikaf there except for during the final ten days of Ramadan. Palestinians have ignored that prohibition, apparently with Israeli acquiescence.
It appears that Israel got tired of its arbitrary religious rules being ignored. Around 10 pm local time, police entered the mosque grounds and began clearing the faithful from exterior courtyards. As that played out peacefully, dozens of others locked themselves inside the Qibli prayer hall in an attempt to dodge eviction, according to a report by ZeroHedge.
BREAKING: Israeli police brutally beat Palestinian worshippers inside al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/IiFU10qI5c
— IMEU (@theIMEU) April 4, 2023
Israeli authorities characterized the worshippers as masked agitators armed with fireworks, sticks and stones. This video appears to confirm the fireworks claim, although even the official police statement says the fireworks and stones flew only after police had launched their attack. -ZeroHedge
Al Aqsa mosque is under attack by Israeli occupation troops. Where are human rights organizations and activists?pic.twitter.com/e4ctFTEsuj
— Saith Abdullah (@SaithAbdullah99) April 4, 2023
Outrage swept across Palestinian communities, sparking marches, confrontations with Israeli troops, and rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. The violence spiraled higher, as the Israeli Air Force bombed Gaza.
Hamas called Israel’s action “an unprecedented crime,” and Gaza militants retaliated with a salvo of rockets fired at Israel.
⚡️The moment the rockets were fired from Gaza towards occupied Sderot.
I cannot 100% verify this video as of now. pic.twitter.com/7iu4iT8rJf
— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) April 5, 2023
According to a report by Reuters, witnesses say Israeli tanks fired shells at Hamas positions near the border fence. The Israeli Air Force struck back with bombs, with this video said to show some of the destruction:
My beloved #Gaza wakes up to this massive bombing after a brutal night in Al-Aqsa Mosque. Airstrikes in Ramadan is an ongoing trauma for Gazas which recalls painful memories of previous offensives, also took place in Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/wjBAWOU7J7
— Ibtihal (@IbtihalGaza) April 5, 2023
Over the past months, Israel has been rocked by enormous upheaval against the Benjamin Netanyahu government’s proposals to reform the Supreme Court, which prompts a question: Was the Al Aqsa raid intended to spark a violent Palestinian response that distracts and unites Israel’s Jews?
Or maybe it’s just the latest illustration of the reckless, incendiary ultra-nationalism of Israel’s new far-right government…which threatens to take a toll on Americans and Israelis alike. -ZeroHedge
War and violence are all around right now. Make sure you are prepared for anything. The entire global geopolitical system is creating a lot of tension and people are already choosing sides.