25 June, 2014 Ma’an
Jerusalem, Palestine – Two Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli officers beat worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as they protested the presence of a tour group of Israeli settlers.
Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli officers attacked protesters with clubs and rifle butts after they began protesting against the group of around 30 settlers, who were escorted by a large contingent of heavily armed Israeli police as they entered through the Moroccan Gate.
12-year-old Muslih Nasser Shehadah and an unidentified Palestinian woman were injured during the police assault, and were taken to a medical clinic inside the Al-Aqsa compound for treatment.
Ziad Srour, a doctor who works in the compound’s Arab Medical Center-affiliated clinic, told Ma’an that the boy was beaten on his back and was taken to a hospital for tests and X-rays to check if his kidney has been hurt.
The woman, meanwhile, was injured in the jaw and was also taken to the hospital for X-rays.
An Israeli military spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area, although visitors of any religion are allowed.
Heavily-armed Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, [typically this is for two reasons: 1- similar to a dog ‘marking’ its territory, and 2- to perform Talmudic rituals. -ed] however, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.