• Press Release

Israeli forces attack peaceful crowds at Jerusalem holy site

July 27, 2017

Palestinian worshippers demonstrate outside Jerusalem's Old City in front of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound after Israeli police barred men under 50 from entering the Old City for Friday Muslim prayers as tensions rose and protests erupted over new security measures at a highly sensitive holy site on July 21, 2017. The ban came after Israeli ministers decided not to order the removal of metal detectors erected at entrances to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following an attack nearby a week ago that killed two policemen. / AFP PHOTO / Ahmad GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
July 21, 2017 protests by Al-Aqsa mosque ©Getty Iages/Ahmad Gharabli

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. The Israeli authorities must urgently rein in their security forces to prevent the situation from spiraling 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.