In a significant escalation of violence, Israeli police officers later attacked worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during special prayers being held for Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night in Islam, using tear gas and other projectiles at those inside the compound. Some worshippers responded by throwing rocks at the Israeli forces.
While some have described the events at the mosque as “unprecedented”, there have been several major incidents of Israeli police violence at the mosque and its immediate vicinity, which date back decades. In a non-exhaustive list below, we list six major occasions.
1. July 1988 – Archaeological dig
Fearful that an archaeological excavation close to the Al-Aqsa mosque and Western Wall would undermine the foundations of the compound, Palestinian worshippers tried to stop Israeli workers from digging into the site by throwing stones and bottles, according to a New York Times report at the time.
Israeli forces used tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters, wounding 26 people, the newspaper said.
The Western Wall with the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque complex behind it (File image: AFP)
The dig took place during the First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, which started in December 1987 and continued until September 1993.
2. April 1989 – Attempt to start building Third Temple
In April the following year, Israeli religious ultranationalists decided that their annual march onto the Temple Mount, the site of today’s Al-Aqsa mosque complex, would involve laying a large cornerstone for the rebuilding of the Third Temple, a deliberate act of provocation, which if fulfilled would involve the leveling of the Al-Aqsa compound.
Disclaimer: Al-Aqsa: Six times Israel attacked worshippers at the sacred site By Shafik Mandhai - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view