A 21-year-old Palestinian fell into a coma on Friday after being wounded in clashes with Israeli police on the Temple Mount earlier in the day.
Walid al-Sharif, a resident of Jerusalem's Old City, was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet in the head or neck area at around 6:15 A.M. during clashes with police forces, Palestinian sources say. According to police, al-Sharif fell during confrontations with security forces after he threw stones at police, and sustained a head injury.
Al-Sharif's brother, Abed al-Rahman al-Sharif, told Haaretz that "no oxygen is reaching his brain and he is also suffering from brain hemorrhaging and a skull fracture. The doctors cannot operate on him, we are waiting and only God can help us."
While visiting al-Sharif in the hospital, MK Ahmad Tibi said, "His condition is critical and his life is in danger. He suffers from extensive brain damage, a skull fracture and bleeding around the eye."
Al-Sharif was evacuated from the compound by four police officers and rushed to Hadassah Medical Center but was later transferred to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem, due to the severity of his condition.
"At dawn, violent riots began on the Temple Mount, including the throwing of stones and fireworks at the Western Wall and at security forces," a police statement said.
"One of the masked rioters from the scene fell to the ground as he tried to escape, resulting in a head injury. The police evacuated him quickly and provided him with initial care with the help of medical authorities. He was later transferred to a hospital for medical treatment. The cause of his injuries is being investigated."
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Hundreds of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been seriously injured by sponge-tipped bullets fired by police in recent years. Dozens have lost their eyes and some have been completely blinded as a result.
In 2014, police replaced their standard blue sponge-tipped bullets with the much heavier black sponge-tipped bullets in use today. Police protocols prohibit the firing of sponge-tipped bullets towards the upper body or at minors, but no police officer has been prosecuted to date for illegally firing a sponge-tipped bullet.
Al-Sharif was one of 57 people injured in clashes on Friday at the Temple Mount, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Palestinian worshipers threw stones and launched fireworks towards police at the compound.
Following the noon prayer, police fired tear gas grenades over the compound using drones, causing 26 people, including children, to suffer from gas inhalation, the Red Crescent reported.