Israeli police crack down again on protesters outside the Old City where tens of thousands prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Another night of violence left at least 90 Palestinians wounded after Israeli police cracked down on protesters outside occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, as concerns mounted on Sunday that the situation may spiral out of control.
An estimated 90,000 Muslim worshippers prayed at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque on Islam’s holy night of Laylat al-Qadr – or the “Night of Destiny”, the most sacred of prayers during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan – on Saturday.
Some stayed on to protest Israeli plans to forcibly expel Palestinian families from their homes on land claimed by illegal Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.
Israeli officers on horseback and in riot gear fired stun grenades and water cannon against Palestinians who in turn threw stones, lit fires, and tore down police barricades in the streets leading to the walled Old City’s gates.
Israeli security forces were on high alert on Sunday, bracing for a further escalation ahead of what Israelis call Jerusalem Day. Many Israelis mark the day East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 – and later annexed by Israel – with marches throughout Jerusalem each year.