It was unclear what set off the violence at Al-Aqsa, which erupted when Israeli police in riot gear deployed in giant numbers as 1000’s of Muslim worshippers have been holding night prayers
An evening of heavy clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem left greater than 200 Palestinians wounded, medics stated Saturday, as the town braced for much more violence after weeks of unrest.
Nightly protests broke out in the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan over police restrictions at a well-liked gathering place and have reignited in latest days over threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their properties in east Jerusalem, which is claimed by either side within the decades-old battle.
It was unclear what set off the violence at Al-Aqsa, which erupted when Israeli police in riot gear deployed in giant numbers as 1000’s of Muslim worshippers have been holding night prayers on the sprawling hilltop esplanade.
Throughout the night time giant teams of protesters might be seen hurling rocks as Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades. At one level, the police entered one of many buildings within the complicated, which incorporates the Al-Aqsa mosque and the long-lasting golden Dome of the Rock.
The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service stated 88 of the wounded have been hospitalized. The Palestinian Health Ministry stated 83 folks have been wounded by rubber-coated bullets, together with three who have been shot within the eye, two with severe head accidents and two with damaged jaws.
The Israeli police stated protesters hurled stones, fireworks and different objects at them, wounding 17 officers, half of whom have been hospitalized. “We will respond with a heavy hand to all violent disturbances, riots and attacks on our forces,” it stated in an announcement late Friday.
The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third holiest web site in Islam. It can also be the holiest web site for Jews, who check with it because the Temple Mount as a result of it was the placement of the biblical temples. It has lengthy been a flashpoint within the Israeli-Palestinian battle and was the epicentre of the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or rebellion.
Some 70,000 worshippers had attended the ultimate noon Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa, the Islamic endowment that oversees the location stated. Thousands protested afterwards, waving the inexperienced flags of the Islamic militant group Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans.
At the start of Ramadan in mid-April, Israel blocked off a well-liked gathering spot the place Palestinians historically socialize on the finish of their daylong quick. The transfer set off two weeks of clashes earlier than Israel lifted the restrictions.
But in latest days, protests have grown over Israel’s threatened eviction in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem of dozens of Palestinians embroiled in a protracted authorized battle with Israeli settlers attempting to accumulate property within the neighbourhood.
The United States stated it was “deeply concerned” about each the violence and the threatened evictions, and was in touch with leaders on either side to try to de-escalate tensions.
“It is critical to avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace,” the US State Department stated in an announcement. “This includes evictions in East Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
The European Union additionally urged calm. It stated the potential evictions have been of “severe concern,” adding that such actions are “unlawful below worldwide humanitarian regulation and solely serve to gasoline tensions on the bottom.
Neighboring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Muslim holy websites in Jerusalem, has additionally condemned Israel’s actions, as has the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel final 12 months in a US-brokered deal.
Israelis and Palestinians are bracing for extra unrest within the coming days.
Saturday night time is “Laylat al-Qadr” or the “Night of Destiny,” probably the most sacred within the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Worshippers will collect for intense nighttime prayers at Al-Aqsa.
Sunday night time is the beginning of Jerusalem Day, a nationwide vacation through which Israel celebrates its annexation of east Jerusalem and spiritual nationalists maintain parades and different celebrations within the metropolis. On Monday, an Israeli court docket is predicted to concern a verdict on the evictions.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, together with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians need for his or her future state — within the 1967 Mideast battle. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a transfer not acknowledged internationally and views your complete metropolis as its capital.
The Palestinians view east Jerusalem — which incorporates main holy websites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its destiny is without doubt one of the most delicate points within the battle. In a name to Palestine TV late Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas praised the “courageous stand” of the protesters and stated Israel bore full accountability for the violence.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry had earlier accused the Palestinians of seizing on the threatened evictions, which it described as a “real-estate dispute between private parties,” to be able to incite violence.
Hamas, which guidelines the Gaza Strip and opposes Israel’s existence, has known as for a brand new intifada.
Protest teams affiliated with Hamas stated they might resume demonstrations and the launching of incendiary balloons alongside the heavily-guarded Gaza frontier. Hamas has largely curtailed such actions over the previous two years as a part of a casual cease-fire that now seems to be fraying.
In an interview with a Hamas-run TV station, the group’s prime chief Ismail Haniyeh addressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by title, warning him to not “play with fire.”
“Neither you, nor your army and police, can win this battle,” he stated. “What’s happening in Jerusalem is an intifada that must not stop.”