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Palestinian girl, 11, wounded as worshippers and police clash at Damascus Gate

Muslim Palestinians gathered to celebrate al-Israa wa al-Miraj, the anniversary of Mohammad’s journey to Al-Aqsa holy site; police say Palestinians rioted and threw stones at cops

Police fire sound grenades at Palestinians at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem Old City, on February 28, 2022. (Flash90)
Police fire sound grenades at Palestinians at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem Old City, on February 28, 2022. (Flash90)

An 11-year-old Palestinian girl was hospitalized after being struck in the head by a sound grenade fired by police during clashes near Damascus Gate on Monday afternoon, as Palestinians gathered in Jerusalem for an Islamic holiday.

Police dispersed groups of Palestinians with stun grenades and blasts of acrid-smelling high-pressure water from cannons. Dozens of passersby, including women, children and a man in a wheelchair, fled for cover.

One of the sound grenades smashed in the face of the 11-year-old Palestinian girl. Medics immediately rushed her to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in moderate condition, according to a Hadassah spokesperson.

According to police, Palestinians had “chanted incitement and threw stones and bottles at police on the scene.” A spokesperson for Jerusalem police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the wounded 11-year-old girl.

“Police forces have acted these past few hours to protect public order and prevent rioting,” an Israel Police spokesperson said.

The girl’s family identified her as Manwar Burqan, a resident of the middle-class Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Burqan is deaf and attends a special needs school in the city.

Around 25 Palestinians were injured during the clashes, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Twenty Palestinians were arrested and four officers were wounded, according to Israel Police.

Thousands of Palestinians had gathered in the Old City entryway to celebrate al-Israa wa al-Miraj. The holiday celebrates the miraculous “night journey” of Islam’s prophet, Mohammad, from Mecca to Jerusalem.

According to Islamic tradition, Mohammad ascended heavenwards from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Jews also revere as the site of both Biblical temples. Palestinian Muslims often celebrate the holiday by gathering in Jerusalem for festivities and prayer at the shrine.

Cops also appeared to violently slap a Palestinian girl while subduing her on the ground, according to footage from the scene of the clashes.

The stairway leading to Damascus Gate is a popular site for Palestinians to enjoy the holiday cheer before heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers. But the gateway has also become one of Jerusalem’s most charged sites.

Clashes between Palestinians and police in the area were part of the buildup to last year’s war between Israel and the Hamas terror group. Israeli police prevented Palestinians from sitting on the steps during Ramadan — a longtime Jerusalem tradition — leading to violent clashes.

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