Israel storms mosque, detaining hundreds and prompting clashes amid religious holiday

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel were intercepted, Israel said.

April 5, 2023, 5:48 AM

LONDON -- Israeli police officers stormed a mosque in Jerusalem overnight, raising tensions during a high holiday and prompting clashes that continued into Wednesday morning.

Video from the scene released by the Israeli Police Force showed officers entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque, where worshipers were celebrating Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

Israeli police said they’d entered the mosque to remove "masked and law-breaking youths," who they accused of taking over the mosque "in a painful manner." Police accused them of "disturbing and desecrating the order inside the mosque."

Israeli security forces remove Palestinian Muslim worshippers sitting on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, early on April 5, 2023 during Islam's holy month of Ramadan.
Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli officers fired rubber bullets and stun guns inside the compound, they said. Palestinian worshipers returned fire with fireworks. More than 350 were arrested after they'd barricaded themselves inside, police said.

"These hooligans harm, first of all, the mass of Muslims who come to pray in the mosque," Israeli officials said in a statement.

Palestinian youth react as they burn tires during a protest on the streets of Gaza City on April 5, 2023.
Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

At least 12 people were injured, along with an Israeli officer, officials said. Police released a video of people with zip-tied hands being marched away from the mosque in the early hours of Wednesday.

“We warn the occupation against crossing red lines at holy sites, which will lead to a big explosion,”Nabil Abu Rudeineh, deputy prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, said in a statement.

Israeli police walk inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, early on April 5, 2023, after clashes erupted during Islam's holy month of Ramadan.
Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

In the hours after the raid began, clashes erupted throughout the region. About nine rockets were launched, Israel Defense Forces said.

Four rockets from Gaza Strip were detected as they traveled into Israel, officials said, adding that they'd been intercepted. Another four landed in "open areas," they said.

Palestinians shout slogans at Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, on April 5, 2023.
Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

"In response to rocket fire from Gaza into Israel earlier, the IDF struck weapon manufacturing sites and a storage site belonging to Hamas, in addition to a military compound used for training terrorist operatives," security officials said. "IDF tanks also struck military posts along the security fence."

The Jordanian foreign minister in a statement condemned in the “strongest terms the Israeli occupation police storming the blessed mosque.”

ABC News' Joe Simonetti, William Gretsky, Bruno Nota, Kerem Inal and Nassar Atta contributed to this report.

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