Kuwait denounces attack on Al-Aqsa

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KUWAIT CITY, April 16, (Agencies): The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry on Friday tersely condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, assaulting worshippers at dawn today. This attack is a dangerous escalation and fl agrant violation of international resolutions and charters, the ministry said in a statement, warning that such escalatory acts would foment violence, extremism and undermine regional stability. The Israeli forces attacked the mosque early today wounding and detaining a number of Palestinians who were performing the dawn prayers.

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, Friday, April 15. (AP)

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the international community, namely the United Nations Security Council, to shoulder the responsibility of protecting the brotherly Palestinian people, the sanctities and halting the attacks by the occupation Israeli forces. National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim on Friday stressed the necessity of solidarity with the Palestinian people under occupation and supporting them with any effort, even symbolic, to advance their cause. Al-Ghanim’s series of tweets were published through his official account on the social networking site (Twitter), following the Israeli occupation authorities’ storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque at dawn Friday and attacking worshipers, which led to injuries and the arrest of others. The parliament speaker said that what is happening in the city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque is evidence that the terms struggle, support and solidarity have not died but are keywords articulated to obtain the inherent rights of the Palestinian people.

Al-Ghanim added that what is happening “is a daily and repeated testimony to the downfall of all the arguments and political discourse that prevailed for 30 years and promoted false peace, imaginary coexistence, and the arrangements of the socalled new international order.” He stressed the necessity of “not witholding any effort from our people under occupation, even if it is symbolic, to advance their cause and ours at the level of the entire world, and to affirm our solidarity and support for them on a daily and permanent basis, and to expose the dirty practices of the occupation in all available forums.” The Israeli occupation authorities stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque, attacked the civilians, injuring over 150 people. About 450 others were arrested in the context of an Israeli escalation that has continued in the occupied Palestinian territories for days.

Clash at major holy site
The holy site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, has often been the epicenter of Israeli- Palestinian unrest, and tensions were already heightened amid a recent wave of violence. Clashes at the site last year helped spark an 11-day war with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The clashes come at a particularly sensitive time. Ramadan this year coincides with Passover, a major weeklong Jewish holiday beginning Friday at sundown, and Christian holy week, which culminates on Easter Sunday. The holidays are expected to bring tens of thousands of faithful into Jerusalem’s Old City, home to major sites sacred to all three religions. Hours after the clashes began, the police said they had put an end to the violence and arrested “hundreds” of suspects.

The mosque was re-opened, and some 60,000 people attended the main Friday prayers midday, according to the Waqf, the Islamic endowment that administers the site. After prayers, thousands of Palestinians marched around the esplanade, chanting “with our souls, with our blood, we sacrifice for you, Al-Aqsa,” in addition to slogans in support of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza. Less than a kilometer (mile) away, thousands of Christians marched in a procession retracing the traditional journey of Jesus to the cross in honor of Good Friday. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was open to visitors, who are returning to the Holy Land in large numbers for the first time since before the pandemic. The violence was confined to the mosque compound.

Israeli authorities
Israeli authorities said that before the unrest broke out they had negotiated with Muslim leaders to try to ensure calm. But the police say Palestinians stockpiled rocks and other objects inside the compound and hurled stones at the Mughrabi Gate, which leads to the Western Wall – a major Jewish holy site – triggering the violence. Palestinian witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns, said a small group of Palestinians threw rocks at police, who then entered the compound in force, setting off a wider conflagration.

Palestinians view any large deployment of police at Al-Aqsa as a provocation. Palestinians threw rocks and fireworks, and police fired tear gas and stun grenades on the sprawling esplanade surrounding the mosque. Dozens of Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the mosque as they fought Israeli security forces. Israeli police later entered the mosque and arrested people inside. The police rarely enter the building, which is seen by Palestinians as an escalation. The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said it treated 152 people, many of them wounded by rubber-coated bullets or stun grenades. Video footage showed police beating a photographer for the Waqf with batons before knocking him to ground and kicking him. The Waqf said the photographer, Rami Khatib, suffered a broken hand. There was no immediate comment from police.

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