Israeli police attack Palestinian worshippers in Al-Aqsa after dawn prayer

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Israeli police attacked Palestinian worshippers inside occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound after they finished performing the Islamic dawn prayer on Friday.

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The two mosques are flash point sites between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. Jewish prayer is forbidden in the Al-Aqsa compound, which Jews believe is the site of the Second Jewish Temple destroyed in antiquity, though they often controversially flout the regulations.

Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, meanwhile, was divided to accommodate Jewish worship following a 1992 massacre that saw an Israeli settler murder 29 Muslim worshippers.

Despite the harsh winter and rain, hundreds of Palestinians have been going daily to perform the dawn prayer, one of the five daily prayers in Islam, just after 5am in the morning.

Israel’s media outlet said Israeli forces in Jerusalem were surprised by the number of Palestinian worshippers who came to Al-Aqsa.

Israel’s police spokesperson said “hundreds of worshippers marched in protest, during which they chanted national slogans and violated the order in place”.

Bab Huta Street, which leads through Jerusalem’s Old City to the Al-Aqsa compound, was packed with Palestinians despite the rainy weather.

Video footage taken inside the compound shows Israeli police dispersing Palestinians violently, using batons and firing rubber-coated bullets.