UPDATE 2 – Anadolu Agency journalists assaulted by Israeli forces


By Gulsen Topcu and Hamdi Yildiz

ANKARA (AA) – Anadolu Agency's Middle East News Editor Turgut Alp Boyraz was injured Monday in an Israeli police raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.

Boyraz was shot in the leg with two plastic bullets.

He was in danger of being crushed during a stampede while trying to exit the Lions' Gate [Bab al-Asbat] in the Old City of East Jerusalem due to the chaos during a live broadcast while being interviewed by TRT Haber, Turkey’s state-run news channel, Boyraz told Anadolu Agency.

They were the target of the bullets during the exit from the Lions' Gate, and the police fired two shots and injured him in his leg, he said.

Also, during the crush, another Turkish citizen named Resul Cakır, whose wife works in the Jerusalem Consulate, was injured, he added.

They went to a nearby office where their journalist friend was working and received first aid there, he said.

Later, they were transferred to Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem.

He was the fourth Anadolu Agency journalist attacked by the Israeli police. Earlier, Anadolu Agency correspondent Esat Firat and two photographers were targeted while covering the security forces’ attacks on worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Fayez Abu Rumaila, an Anadolu Agency photojournalist in occupied East Jerusalem, said he was brutally attacked by Israeli occupation forces while covering clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

Abu Rumaila said he was doing his job at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the morning before heading to a field clinic to photograph Palestinians injured during the clashes.

"Israeli police stormed the clinic and attacked us brutally," he said, noting that he had bruises all over his body.

Israeli forces "put me in a corner and assaulted me with rifle butts, batons, hands and legs…and threw me under their feet on the ground," the photojournalist recalled.

"The soldiers kept assaulting me until an officer came and took me from their hands…I told them that I am a journalist, but they kept beating me everywhere."

Mustafa Kharouf, another Anadolu Agency photojournalist, said he was hit by a rubber bullet in the chest while he was providing aid to an injured medic.

Kharouf said Israeli forces pushed them outside Al-Aqsa Mosque, adding that when he left Jerusalem's Old City and headed towards his vehicle near the wall of Al-Rahma Cemetery, he found a medic injured by stun grenade shrapnel.

"The injured paramedic was lying next to his car, so I tried to fulfill the humanitarian call and provided aid to him," Kharouf said.

"I began calling for paramedics near him to rescue their wounded colleague until a soldier shot me with a rubber bullet in my chest," he said.

– Anadolu Agency urges Israel to respect human rights, law, journalism

Anadolu Agency Director General Serdar Karagoz on Twitter criticized the Israeli police's mistreatment of the agency’s staff.

"Our cameraman Fayez Abu Rumaila was attacked by Israeli police while he was recording the injustices taking place in Jerusalem," Karagoz said.

"I urge Israeli officials to act with respect for human rights, the law, and journalism," he stressed.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 305 people were injured Monday as Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians who were on guard to prevent possible raids by extremist Jews.

Tensions have been running high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem since last week, when Israeli settlers swarmed in after an Israeli court ordered the eviction of Palestinian families.

Palestinians protesting in solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have been targeted by Israeli forces.​​​​​​​

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognized by the international community.