Israeli forces attack peaceful crowds at Jerusalem holy site

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Israeli forces attacked peaceful crowds of Palestinians as they gathered at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem this afternoon for the first time since Israel lifted recent security measures imposed at the site, according to Amnesty International staff at the scene.

“Israeli forces started firing stun grenades, tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets into a peaceful crowd as they stood at the entrance of the al-Aqsa mosque compound and inside. It appeared to be an entirely unprovoked attack. Some Palestinians threw empty water bottles in return. Others, began to throw stones as well,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

Using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse a peaceful gathering is a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligation to uphold the rights of Palestinians to peaceful assembly
Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International

“Using unnecessary and excessive force to disperse a peaceful gathering is a flagrant violation of Israel’s obligation to uphold the rights of Palestinians to peaceful assembly. The Israeli authorities must urgently rein in their security forces to prevent the situation from spiralling out of control and to avoid further bloodshed.” 

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said at least 96 Palestinians were injured in and around al-Aqsa mosque today. Since the beginning of the incidents four Palestinian civilians have been killed and more than 1090 injured by Israeli forces during protests and clashes in the West Bank including Jerusalem.