Palestinians 'seriously injured' jumping Israeli wall for Laylat al-Qadr at al-Aqsa
Palestinian worshippers injured themselves attempting to jump the separation wall late on Wednesday to enter Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque, medics have said, after Israeli authorities did not let them through.
Israeli soldiers stopped men under the age of 40 from crossing into the city from the occupied West Bank to mark Laylat al-Qadr, one of the holiest nights in the Muslim calendar, as tens of thousands flocked to Jerusalem from across Palestinian cities to mark the occasion.
Later, dozens of young men were pictured jumping over the separation wall, which cuts through the West Bank, in an attempt to reach al-Aqsa.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said it dealt with 418 injuries in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa on Wednesday, with “some of them seriously injured after jumping over the racial segregation wall”.
It added that 23 were transferred to hospital to receive further treatment.
Before sunset, thousands were stuck at checkpoints at Qalandiya - between Ramallah and Jerusalem - and Bethlehem ahead of the night prayers.
Translation: Thousands flock to Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem to observe Laylat al-Qadr at al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel imposes tight restrictions on Palestinians crossing from the West Bank into Jerusalem, with nearly 100 checkpoints across the territory and a 70-kilometre-long separation wall controlling people’s movements.
Women of all ages and men only over the age of 40 are often permitted to cross into Jerusalem for prayer in al-Aqsa.
The separation wall, built by Israel in 2002 for “security reasons”, is deemed unlawful by the UN’s legal body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Despite Israeli limitations, more than 250,000 people joined the night prayer in al-Aqsa on Wednesday, with worshippers coming from Jerusalem, Palestinian communities inside Israel and the occupied West Bank, according to the Jerusalem Islamic Endowment, or Waqf.
Early on Thursday, Israeli forces fired teargas into the mosque to disperse crowds as some gathered to stage a pro-Palestine demonstration, while others made their way back to the West Bank.
Relative calm has returned to the mosque, which has seen repeated Israeli assaults over the past week, disrupting Ramadan prayers for thousands of Muslim worshippers.
Seven Israeli raids into al-Aqsa between 15 April and 22 April left around 170 Palestinians wounded and 450 were arrested as Israeli forces used rubber-coated steel bullets, teargas, and stun grenades in the courtyard of the mosque.