Violence at Jerusalem mosque prompts fears of wider preventing

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JERUSALEM — Israeli police stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis early Wednesday, firing stun grenades at Palestinian youths who hurled firecrackers at them in a burst of violence throughout a delicate vacation season. Gaza militants responded with rocket hearth on southern Israel, prompting repeated Israeli airstrikes.

The preventing, coming as Muslims mark the vacation month of Ramadan and Jews put together to start the Passover competition on Wednesday night, raised fears of a wider conflagration. Related clashes two years in the past erupted into an 11-day struggle between Israel and the ruling Hamas militant group in Gaza. The Israeli navy mentioned one soldier was shot in a separate incident within the occupied West Financial institution.

The mosque sits on a delicate hilltop compound holy to each Jews and Muslims. Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest web site in Islam and is often full of worshippers throughout Ramadan. The spot, identified to Jews because the Temple Mount, can also be the holiest web site in Judaism, who revere it as the situation of the biblical Jewish temples. The conflicting claims gasoline fixed tensions which have spilled over to violence quite a few occasions previously.

The official Palestinian information company Wafa mentioned that dozens of worshippers who have been spending the night time praying have been injured within the police raid.

Israeli police mentioned they moved in after “a number of law-breaking youths and masked agitators” introduced fireworks, sticks and stones and barricaded themselves into the mosque. Police mentioned the youths chanted violent slogans and locked the entrance doorways.

“After many and extended makes an attempt to get them out by speaking to no avail, police forces have been pressured to enter the compound with the intention to get them out,” police mentioned.

Video launched by police confirmed the repeated explosions of fireworks contained in the mosque. One beginner video taken by Palestinians confirmed police struggling with folks and beating them with golf equipment and rifle butts as a lady’s voice could possibly be heard shouting, “Oh God. Oh God.”

Exterior the gate, police dispersed teams of youths with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

Police mentioned one officer was injured within the leg, whereas some 350 folks have been arrested. They launched photos of fireworks and no less than one giant stone that appeared to have been hurled.

Talab Abu Eisha, 49, mentioned greater than 400 males, ladies and youngsters have been praying at Al-Aqsa when the police encircled the mosque.

“The youths have been afraid and began closing the doorways,” he mentioned, including that police forces “stormed the japanese nook, beating and arresting males there.”

”It was an unprecedented scene of violence by way of police brutality and intention to harm the youths,” he mentioned, denying police claims that younger males have been hiding fireworks and rocks. He added that the police prevented all males below 50 years outdated from passing via the Outdated Metropolis’s gates resulting in the compound for the daybreak prayers Wednesday morning.

Palestinian militants responded by firing a barrage of rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, setting off air raid sirens within the area as residents have been making ready for the start of the weeklong Passover vacation.

The Israeli navy mentioned a complete of 5 rockets have been fired, and all have been intercepted. Hours later, Israel responded with an airstrike in Gaza on what it mentioned have been weapons manufacturing and storage websites belonging to the Islamic militant group Hamas. Extra rocket hearth and airstrikes continued after dawn.

Tensions have been steadily rising since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right authorities took workplace late final 12 months. The federal government is dominated by non secular and ultranationalist hard-liners, and the overlap of the Jewish and Muslim holidays – when tens of 1000’s of worshippers make their solution to contested Jerusalem — has raised fears of violence.

The police pressure is overseen by Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist with a historical past of violent rhetoric and actions towards Palestinians.

In Gaza, Hamas referred to as for big protests and folks began gathering within the streets, with calls to move for the closely guarded Gaza-Israel frontier for extra violent demonstrations.

The Palestinian militant teams Hamas and Islamic Jihad additionally referred to as for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the West Financial institution, and Israel to collect round Al-Aqsa Mosque and confront Israeli forces.

Ziyad al-Nakhala, chief of Islamic Jihad, mentioned the scenario at Al-Aqsa was a “severe risk.”

He mentioned that Palestinians should be ready “for the inevitable confrontation within the coming days.”

Within the occupied West Financial institution, the Palestinian management condemned the assault on the worshippers. The spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, warned Israel that such a transfer “exceeds all purple strains and can result in a big explosion.”

The federal government of Jordan, which serves because the custodian of the mosque, condemned the Israeli raid “within the strongest phrases.” The International Ministry warned “of the implications of this harmful escalation and held Israel answerable for the security of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

As violence was unfolding in Jerusalem, the Israeli navy reported preventing in a Palestinian city within the occupied West Financial institution. It mentioned residents of Beit Umar, close to the unstable metropolis of Hebron, burned tires, hurled rocks and explosives at troopers. It mentioned one soldier was shot by armed suspects, who managed to flee.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Palestinian suspect stabbed two Israelis close to a military base south of Tel Aviv, police mentioned, within the newest incident in a yearlong spate of violence that reveals no signal of abating.

The Magen David Adom paramedic service mentioned first responders handled two males for severe and lightweight stab wounds within the incident on a freeway close to the Tzrifin navy base. The boys have been taken to a close-by hospital for therapy.

Israeli media recognized the 2 victims as troopers.

Police mentioned that civilians on the scene apprehended the suspected attacker, who was taken into police custody for questioning.

Israeli-Palestinian violence has surged during the last 12 months, because the Israeli navy has carried out near-nightly raids on Palestinian cities, cities and villages and as Palestinians have staged quite a few assaults towards Israelis.

Not less than 88 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli hearth this 12 months, based on an Related Press tally. Palestinian assaults towards Israelis have killed 15 folks in the identical interval.

Israel says a lot of the Palestinians killed have been militants. However stone-throwing youths and bystanders uninvolved in violence have been additionally among the many lifeless. All however one of many Israeli lifeless have been civilians.

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Akram reported from Gaza Metropolis, Gaza Strip.

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