Reporter Abdallah Zidan arrived at the Temple Mount at dawn to cover the prayers for his website, which is sponsored by the Islamic Movement's northern branch.
Many heeded Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raad Salah's call to arrive at the Al-Aqsa Mosque after word got out that extreme-right wing Jews would be making their way to the site as well. .
Zidan, a resident of the Manda village in the Galilee was among the visitors, and along with a group of fellow worshipers arrived at the entrance gate at around 5 am. A tumult suddenly erupted near Sheikh Kamal Khatib, Salah's deputy, who was standing in Zidan's vicinity.
Khatib, who was later arrested on suspicion of incitement, was surrounded by people who prevented officers from reaching him. Zidan claims that during the fracas a police officer struck him with a baton in a forceful manner. "I started bleeding from my eye, the people around me tried to help but the police officer disappeared," Zidan recalled.
'Officers behaving like animals'
Zidan was evacuated to an east Jerusalem hospital and transferred by ambulance to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. "I was lucky the actual eye wasn't hurt, it was very close," said Zidan, who required stitches.
"Police officers were behaving very brutally, like animals. They came and hit me for no reason. Media personnel who come for news coverage cannot be hurt in such a way," he said.
The reporter added that he intends on filing a complaint against the officer with the Justice Ministry.
Jerusalem Police rejected the claims and stated that "Border Guard forces together with minority section officers requested Kamal Khatib to come with them, which he did. Nothing unusual occurred at any stage of his arrest. It went by very smoothly."
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report