OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Palestine: Israeli Police officers cut the locks on and broke into the minarets and disconnected the power supply to the loudspeakers to prevent call for prayer (Adhan) from disrupting the Tuesday evening ceremony for Israel’s Remembrance Day taking place on the Western Wall Plaza below.
Employees of the Jordan-run Jerusalem waqf and Al-Aqsa affairs department were harassed during the invasion.
Palestinians have reacted furiously after Israeli forces on Tuesday cut electric cables inside the minarets of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most holy site of the Islamic faith, preventing the call to prayer.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas weighed in on the incident through a spokesperson, calling it “a racist hate crime.”
Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called on the international community to take “serious action” to stop Israeli violations against the sacred site.
Israeli police stormed the Bab Al-Maghariba and Bab Al-Silsila minarets on the western side of the Al-Aqsa compound on Tuesday evening.
The storming was to prevent the adhan call to prayer, which coincided with Israel’s Memorial Day – the commemoration of killed Israeli soldiers – according to reports.
Jordan condemned Israel for silencing the Muslim call to prayer from the minarets at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on the first day of Ramadan.
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry called the incident a provocation against Muslims around the world and a violation of international law and the status quo. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called the incident “a racist hate crime,” according to a spokesman.
Israel held a state ceremony for the occasion at the Western Wall, a sacred Jewish site that is adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The two holy sites are in East Jerusalem, which has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.
The Israeli raid on the Al-Aqsa mosque prevented evening prayers from being called from the mosque on the first day of Ramadan, the sacred Muslim month of fasting which began on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Authority’s news agency WAFA also reported that Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from holding their fast-breaking iftar meal near the minarets of the mosque.
“These actions are a racist attack on the sanctity of the holy places, and freedom of worship. They are a clear violation of international human rights conventions,” said Abu Rdeineh in a statement.
The New Arab’s Arabic-language service reported clashes broke between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers after the storming of the mosque. Three Palestinians were injured as a result.
Israeli forces forcibly stormed the minarets of Al-Aqsa Mosque after cutting the door locks with special equipment, then they cut the wires of the main minarets in the mosque,” Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, who manages the Temple Mount for the Jordanian-backed Islamic Waqf, said on Wednesday.
The hilltop is revered by both Muslims and Jews and is a site where large numbers of Palestinians often gather, especially for Friday prayers. It has long been a flashpoint, and confrontations there between Palestinians and Israeli security forces have occasionally turned deadly.