Al Khalil, 12 Shawwal 1436/28 July 2015 (MINA) – Dozens of Israeli settlers, late Friday, attempted to attack Sheikh of the Ibrahimi mosque in Al Khalil during the night call for prayers, according to an official.
Head of Al Khalil Waqf, Ismail Abu Halawa, said that dozens of settlers attempted to attack Sheikh Motasim Sdr, while he was calling for the night prayers, when he heard the thud of settlers who were planning to attack him.
A large Israeli army present at the scene succeeded in securing his exit outside the mosque before being attacked by settlers, Alqassam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
WAFA notes that settlers have intensified their presence in the mosque to mark the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av.
Earlier today, dozens of Muslim worshipers were injured, while many suffocated by tear gas during clashes that erupted with Israeli police at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after groups of Jewish broke into the Islamic holy site to mark the aforementioned holiday.
Abu Halawa expressed grave concern over the attempted attack, stressing that efforts with relevant sides are underway to insure the provision of the necessary protection to all Muslims and Christians holy sites against settler attacks.
Al-Ibrahimi Mosque is located in the old city of Al Khalil, few hundred meters away from the part of the city illegally occupied by around 400 extremist settlers, who are protected by about 1,500 Israeli soldiers.
Since 1967, al-Ibrahimi Mosque, like all other Muslim holy sites in Palestine, became a target for the Israeli occupying forces and Zionist settlers, reported Al Khalil Rehabilitation Committee.
In 1994, Israel divided al-Ibrahimi Mosque between Muslims and Jews, after an Israeli settler gunned down 30 Palestinians during dawn prayer.
Baruch Goldstein, an extremist settler from the illegal settlement of ‘Kiryat Arba’ settlement, who holds US and Israeli citizenship, opened machine-gun fire at Muslim worshippers during prayer. He killed 29 people and injured 135. On the same day outside the mosque, the Israeli army opened fire towards fearful and panicky worshippers and killed at least ten civilians.
Following the incident, al-Ibrahimi Mosque was converted into a military post and later divided into two parts, one for Muslims and another for Jews. Thus the mosque became a point of conflict and constant tension that has marred its sanctity.
Nowadays, Israel controls Palestinians’ access to the mosque, prevents many from praying there on a regular basis and frequently bans the call for prayer under the pretext of disturbing the settlers.
The control is not only restricted to prayer at the mosque, but also calls for prayers through speakers. In January 2015 alone, the call for prayer was banned 51 times.
Al Khalil Awqaf Directorate said that the policy of banning Muslims’ call for prayer is aimed at tightening the noose on Palestinians and stopping them from praying in the mosque, subsequently driven them away from their city. (T/P002/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)