Iraq condemns storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces

An undated photo of the building of the Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry in Baghdad

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Iraqi foreign ministry on Saturday condemned the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces, which fired rubber bullets and stun grenades toward rock-hurting Palestinian youth at the mosque. 

Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque and dispersed worshippers elsewhere in occupied East Jerusalem, as week-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over Jerusalem soared again.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers packed into the mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan and many stayed on to protest in support of Palestinians facing eviction from their homes on Israeli-occupied land claimed by Jewish settlers.

At least 205 Palestinians and 17 Israeli officers were injured in the night-time clashes, Reuters cited Palestinian medics and Israeli police as saying.

“The Iraqi government condemns the storming of Israeli forces into Al-Aqsa [Mosque],” the foreign ministry said in a statement, calling for an end to “hostile attacks” on Palestinians.

It also reaffirmed its “firm and principled position for the Palestinian cause, which was and remains a pivotal issue”, according to the statement.

Clashes erupted as numerous Palestinian families face eviction in a long-running legal case in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah.

Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are overwhelmingly Palestinian, but the neighborhood also contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just.

The United States and the United Nations called for calm and restraint, while the European Union and Jordan have voiced alarm at the possible evictions.

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