Israel attacks Gaza Strip following raid on Al-Aqsa mosque

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Israel launched air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, after firing rockets from the Palestinian enclave following an Israeli attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem.

Israeli forces brutally attacked dozens of Palestinian worshipers inside Al-Aqsa on Tuesday night and forcibly removed them from the site where they were peacefully observing the holy month of Ramadan.

In response, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group launched a volley of 16-18 rockets towards Israel. Israeli media reports said the Iron Dome system intercepted eight missiles.

The Israeli military said it targeted a PIJ weapons factory and weapons storage facility.

Explosions were heard throughout the Gaza Strip as a result of the bombing, which damaged Palestinian homes and property.

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“Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip this morning is a failed attempt to prevent Gaza from continuing its support in every way to our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem.

Tensions rising

According to the Israeli news website Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Israeli politicians are looking for ways to diffuse tension on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Thousands of heavily armed officers stormed the site, used stun grenades and fired tear gas into the Qibli prayer hall, where hundreds of men, women, old people and children were staying overnight to pray. Some eyewitnesses said that rubber-coated steel bullets were also fired.

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Israeli officers then beat worshipers with batons and riot guns, injuring many, before arresting them. Their conditions were not immediately clear.

Videos from inside the mosque showed Israeli officers repeatedly hitting batters while they appeared to be lying on the floor. Meanwhile, the cries for help from women and children could be heard in the background.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said it had received numerous reports of injuries at the Al-Aqsa Mosque but could not estimate the number of casualties as Israeli forces. doctors blocked from reaching the wounded.

One medic was attacked and injured by an Israeli policeman outside the mosque gates.

A spokesperson from the PRCS said that they have been informed that the people injured in the raid have been evacuated but they do not know who and where they have been taken.

Local media said many were injured in the attack with bruises, fractures and breathlessness from inhaling tear gas. Several videos from the scene published online showed people unconscious.

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