Istanbul stands against Israeli attacks in Al-Aqsa

ISTANBUL

Hundreds of people gathered at Istanbul's Beyazit Square on Friday to protest against a recent restriction Israel placed on Palestinians entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Hacer Hacidervisoglu, 26, brought her 5-month-old baby to the protest. She said the issue of Palestine affected the entire Muslim community -- and her baby was part of it.

"I am here with my family to be a hope for Muslims and [be a source of] fear to non-Muslims," she said.

"Al-Aqsa is part of our faith," she added. "Al-Quds is what Mecca and Medina mean to us."

Demonstrations were held across Turkey following the Friday prayer in protest against the ongoing Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Protesters chanted anti-Israel and pro-Palestine slogans, and carried Palestine flags in support of their fellow Muslims.

Mahmoud Said, who originally hailed from Palestine but had been living in Turkey since the last two years, said more should be done to put pressure on Israel so that it gets out of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds belongs to all our Islamic Ummah, especially Turks," he said, adding that Palestine was ruled under the Ottoman Empire until a century ago.

Muslims have to do something

Wafaa Ali, 20, who came from Egypt's Port Said to study computer engineering in Istanbul, was also at the square; she believed "Muslims have to do something for Palestine."

"All Muslims have the right to pray at Al-Aqsa," Ali said as she condemned the Israeli violations.

Dozens of representatives from the civil society including the Anatolian Youth Foundation, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Turkey Youth Foundation and the Siyer Foundation, came together at the square. They vowed that they will not leave Al-Aqsa to Israel.

Salih Turhan, president of the Anatolian Youth Foundation, referring to the ongoing fight of Palestinians for Al-Aqsa, said: "We have the same spirit here. Those lands belong to Palestine. We reject Tel Aviv as Israel's capital, let alone Jerusalem."

As they addressed the crowds, reports came that dozens of Palestinians had been injured as Israeli police attacked Palestinian worshipers outside Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Thousands of Muslim worshipers had gathered in the streets of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem to pray on Friday.

Protests broke out on Sunday after the Al-Aqsa mosque's leadership spoke out against the metal detectors, which were installed following a gun attack last week that left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead.

The measures led to a wave of anger among Palestinians, who called for the immediate removal of the detectors. However, Israel has refused to back down, saying the detectors matched security measures at other holy sites around the world.

Source: Anadolu Agency