JERUSALEM: Palestinian medics evacuate a wounded person who was hit by bullets fired by occupation forces in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Monday. – AFP

JERUSALEM: Palestinians wounded in Zionist attacks at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound have filled the halls of an east Jerusalem hospital, where several had lost eyes after being hit by rubber bullets. Ezzedine, a 19-year-old carpenter from the West Bank city of Nablus, said Monday that doctors at the large Makassed Hospital told him he would not regain sight in his left eye after a rubber bullet hit him while he visited the holy site. He said he came to Al-Aqsa to perform Ramadan prayers on Friday night when Zionist police began firing stun grenades and tear gas in clashes.

“They want to take a place that’s not theirs,” he said, referring to occupation forces’ actions at Islam’s third holiest site. Even though Zionist regime has insisted it is committed to the rights of Muslims to worship at Al-Aqsa, it seeks to instigate problems in the compound. Rights group Amnesty International argued that Occupation forces have repeatedly deployed disproportionate and unlawful force to disperse protesters during violent raids” on Al-Aqsa. More than 700 Palestinians have been wounded since Friday in attacks at Al-Aqsa and in other parts of occupied east Jerusalem.

Makassed director general Adnan Farhoud said the hospital had received over 200 patients since the unrest began. Most injuries were to the head, chest and limbs, he said-arguing the wounds showed that the forces intended to cause significant injury. When “you mean to harm someone, you shoot at the head”, he said, describing the inhuman tactics being used by the occupation forces.

‘Provoke the youths’
The Palestinian Red Crescent said it opened a field hospital to treat the wounded before evacuating patients to local hospitals. The Augusta Victoria Hospital in east Jerusalem opened a special emergency room to treat the injured. Farhoud said the violence in Jerusalem was the worst he had seen in years, although less severe than in 1990, when nearly 20 Palestinians were killed in clashes with police at Al-Aqsa.

“Before, they were using live bullets,” Farhoud said. “Now, they’re using rubber bullets”. One patient, who was wheeled into surgery on a stretcher, had suffered a spleen injury after being hit with a rubber bullet. Another, Siraj, 24, sat in a wheelchair in jeans torn away from his legs, which were both wrapped in white gauze.

White paint covered his shirt from his early morning work renovating apartments. He said he went from work to Al-Aqsa to pray, and was wounded when Zionist police entered the mosque and began firing stun grenades. “They shot everyone, young and old people,” he said. “They shot a stun grenade toward me and hit my legs. I feel the pain and I hope it subsides”. The actions have served to “provoke the youths”, argued Siraj. – Agencies