[News] Al-Aqsa raid: An eyewitness account of Israel's crackdown on worshippers

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 10 17:30:44 EDT 2021

felt like the sky was falling': An eyewitness account of al-Aqsa raidMay
10, 2021

Ehab Jallad, a historical researcher from Jerusalem, was in the mosque when
Israeli forces stormed in and attacked worshippers. He describes the
shocking scenes

Israeli forces stormed into al-Aqsa, targeting worshippers and local
residents with tear gas and rubber coated bullets (Reuters)

Published date: 10 May 2021 16:03 UTC | Last update: 5 hours 22 mins ago

*As told to Nadda Osman <https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/nadda-osman>.*

It was a normal night, I was staying at the al-Aqsa Mosque as we do in the
last ten days of Ramadan. At around 3am, we started seeing Israeli groups
breaking into the mosque and gathering around in groups. It felt like a
warning to us.

As worshippers continued on with nightly prayers, the sound of people
breaking in caused alarm.

We prayed Fajr (dawn prayers) at around 4am and watched the settlers as
they continued marching in, carrying with them stones and whatever
materials they could to form a barrier. Israeli forces were positioned in
strategic locations, targeting worshippers in the area.

While young people were preparing for their seminar at 8am, Israeli police
started targeting us with snipers using rubber bullets. Some of the young
people reacted with stone-throwing.

The Israeli forces walked all around the area of the western side of the
mosque, breaking everything they could, including cameras in the
surrounding area. Solidarity between Palestinians was strong, and they
gathered to support each other as they struggled to breathe due to the tear

I was near the Qibli Mosque when the police started attacking us. They were
positioned in rows, and were targeting us with tear gas. They were aiming
to drag people to the north side, and from there to the gate to evacuate
the mosque.

It was terrible. Within minutes, it felt like the sky was falling down on
us. I wanted to try and escape the rubber-coated bullets, so I hid, in
order to be out of sight.

Around me, people could not help but shout about the savageness of the
police and the amount of ammunition used in the mosque. In many cases,
people were beaten while they were offering voluntary prayers. There was no
respect for the elderly, women or the young.

The tear gas caused us breathing issues, and the elderly were struggling to
run away, suffocated with the tear gas and unable to see clearly before

[image: alaqsa jerusalem]
Palestinians escape tear gas and rubber-coated bullets after Israeli forces
raided al-Aqsa (AFP)

My mother, who is in her late 60s, was struggling to run away after
finishing her prayers at the Mercy Gate. The use of tear gas in a closed
location made it difficult for everyone around to breathe. Many older
women like my mother suffered as a result.

Many were taken by surprise.

Tensions were growing over planned evictions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah
neighbourhood, and many anticipated some unrest as Israelis prepared to
celebrate Jerusalem Day, which commemorates Israel's capture of East
Jerusalem during the 1967 war. But Palestinians gathered at al-Aqsa to
pray, thinking they would be left in peace.

The attack was unexpected. We did not think that the Israeli soldiers would
break into the mosque. Sound grenades were used in mass quantities, we
didn't know where we were being attacked from and the sounds were horrible.
We had no idea what to do.

Although a shock, the raid has not broken the spirit of Palestinians, and
they are determined to keep resisting.

Many Palestinians came to support each other, and ended up getting wounded
themselves in order to help those who had been beaten or shot at. Everyone
just wanted to help.

[image: all aqsa jerusalem]
Palestinians were quick to return to al-Aqsa following the raid to clean up
the damage (AFP)

Palestinians are only getting stronger; they came back to the mosque
despite being barred by Israeli soldiers at the gates.

Following the raid, the mosque was littered with rocks, shards of glass,
and the carpets were stained.

However, despite the violence and unrest caused by the raid, Palestinians
were quick to return to the mosque to start cleaning it again.

Ramadan is still not over, and we want the mosque to be returned to its
original condition, so we can come back and perform night prayers,
particularly in the final few days before Eid.
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