By Eshat Firat
The spiritual leader of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, was injured Tuesday by a plastic bullet after praying outside the gates of the famous site, according to Palestinian medical personnel.
The imam has just finished leading the night prayer when Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers by force, leaving many injured, some seriously, according to the Palestine’s Red Crescent Society.
Sabri was taken to the Al Maqassid Hospital in eastern Jerusalem and his condition has not been disclosed.
Turkey’s Minister of Religious Affairs Mehmet Gormez “strongly condemned” the attack in a statement Wednesday on Twitter.
“While our geography is facing tremendous pain, the incidents going on at Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings have been bringing any prudent man to worry greatly. I believe that they will not let Al-Aqsa have the same fate as Al-Khalil Mosque, cave of discretion, prudency, moderation, and peace patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph”, he wrote in reference to the 1994 massacre at the Ibrabimi Msoque in Hebron where 30 Muslim worshippers were killed by a U.S.-born Jewish terrorist.
The shooting Tuesday occurred just hours after Rafaat al-Herbawi, 30, was killed during protests at the mosque as tensions rise across the West Bank after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrance to Al-Aqsa following a shootout Friday left five people dead.
More than 300 Palestinians have been killed in alleged attacks on Israelis or in clashes with Israeli forces since October 2015, according to Palestinian figures.
Israeli authorities say nearly 50 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians during the same period.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.