Photo Credit: Jamal Awad/Flash90
Police on the Temple Mount, at the Al Aqsa Mosque. April 5, 2023

After 13 relatively calm days during Ramadan, except for a shooting incident on Saturday, Islamic officials in the West Bank (Juda & Samaria) and East Jerusalem, with encouragement from Hamas, urged Muslims to stay at the Temple Mount Plaza as part of the “الاعتكاف العظيم” (the Great I’tikaf), staying at the al-Aqsa Mosque continuously until after Passover Eve.

These officials claim that this is to prevent Jews from visiting the site during Passover and harming al-Aqsa, performing sacrificial rituals in its courtyards. It’s worth noting that during this year’s Ramadan, Jews visited the Temple Mount twice daily, as they do every year, without any notable incidents.


As a result, more than 400 Arab worshippers barricaded themselves in the prayer hall of al-Aqsa mosque, in an attempt to stay there until this morning, and prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount.

Israeli security forces have reportedly cut off electricity to a site and engaged in clashes with Arabs who locked themselves inside. According to reports, Arabs were firing fireworks from inside a mosque at Israeli police.

A small fire apparently broke out inside the mosque following the clashes there and the firing of fireworks at Israeli security forces.

The Secretary General of the PIJ, Ziyad Al-Nakhlah: “What is happening in al-Aqsa is a serious threat to our holy places. All branches of the Palestinian people should be present for the final confrontation in the coming days.”

However, Hamas appears to be taking a relatively moderate stance to last night’s events, through its spokesperson Hazem Qassem: “What the occupation authorities did in al-Aqsa is a heinous crime and part of their religious war against al-Aqsa. The Palestinian people will not allow Israel to implement its plans in al-Aqsa. We call on the Palestinian people to make the occupation pay the price.”

The Chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has also issued a similar statement, calling on “Palestinians” to come to al-Aqsa and protect it.

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