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New clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinian Muslim worshipers wave the Palestinian flag and the Hamas flag in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

  • Israeli police clashed with Palestinian youths at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • The violence has triggered international fears of a major escalation
  • In the past week, more than 200 people have been injured in clashes in and around the Al-Aqsa area.

New clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters erupted on Friday at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Israeli police stormed the area, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinian youths, an AFP photographer said.

READ | US ‘Blinken calls on Israeli Palestinian leaders to’ end cycle of violence ‘

The clashes come after a month of deadly violence as the Jewish Passover feast overlaps with the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The violence has sparked international fears of a major escalation, a year after similar unrest led to an 11-day war.

Around 4:00 (01:00 GMT), Palestinians began throwing stones at the Western Wall, which is considered the holiest place where Jews can pray, police said.

Police said in a statement:

Police forces used mass dispersal to stop the violence.

Eleven Palestinians were taken to hospital, two of them in moderate and severe condition, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

In the past week, more than 200 people, mostly Palestinians, have been injured in clashes in and around the Al-Aqsa complex in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

This led to further escalation as Palestinian armed groups fired rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Israel retaliated with airstrikes on Gaza, a blocked area with a poor population of 2.3 million.

Status quo

Friday’s clash comes after nearly a month of bloodshed focusing on the Al-Aqsa complex, known by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Palestinians have been outraged by repeated visits by Israeli Jews to the site, the third holiest in Islam and the holiest in Judaism.

By a long-standing convention, Jews are allowed to visit under certain conditions, but they are not allowed to pray there.

Arab ministers, who met Thursday in neighboring Jordan, said Israel should respect the status quo on the ground, which is officially monitored by the kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Ministers condemned “Israeli attacks and insults against worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and called them “an outright provocation to the feelings of Muslims everywhere”.

ALSO READ | ‘They beat everyone’ – tensions flare up as Israeli police re-enter Al-Aqsa Mosque

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Yael Lempert and senior diplomat Hady Amr visited the region on Thursday.

After meeting with them, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel “preserves and will continue to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount” – contrary to Palestinian claims.

The escalation has proved to be a political headache for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is himself right-wing and a key figure in Israel’s settlement movement, but who leads an ideologically divided coalition government.

Earlier this month, the coalition lost its majority in one seat in parliament – so on Sunday, the Raam party, drawn from the country’s Arab minority, suspended its support for the coalition due to the Al-Aqsa violence.

Raketild

Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israeli warplanes on Thursday exchanged fire in the largest escalation in months.

Israel carried out airstrikes in central Gaza, hours after a rocket fired by militants hit the garden of a house in southern Israel – the first such fire to hit Israel since January.

The military said it had hit an underground rocket factory, leading to another volley of rockets from the poor area, driven by the Islamist movement Hamas.

READ MORE | Over 20 wounded in new Jerusalem violence

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Thursday that the movement is “determined to continue the fight side by side with the Palestinian people to resist (Israeli) aggression regardless of the victims”.

The current rise in violence includes four deadly attacks since the end of March in Israel by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs that claimed the lives of 14 people, mostly civilians.

A total of 23 Palestinians have meanwhile been killed in the violence since March 22, including assailants targeting Israelis, according to an AFP statement.


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New clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque

Source link New clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque

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