GAZA/JERUSALEM, April 5 (Reuters) – Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound before dawn on Wednesday and clashed with worshippers, in what police said was a response to unrest that has sparked a furious reaction across the West Bank and beyond. in Gaza
The event, during the holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of the Jewish Passover, has come amid fears among Muslims that tensions over the year could spill over into violence at the Al-Aqsa mosque, where the rally in 2021 went on for ten days. – day war with Gaza.
Overnight, at least nine rockets were fired from Gaza, followed by an airstrike by Israel, which struck what it said was a Hamas training camp, prompting explosions that could be heard across the coastal strip.
Witnesses said Israeli tanks also located a Hamas position along the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 12 Palestinians sustained injuries from live ammunition and clashes with Israeli police. He added that Israeli forces were preventing medics from reaching their area.
“In the area to the east of the compound, the police fired tear gas and stun guns, it’s a scene I can’t describe,” said Fahmi Abbas, a worshiper at the mosque. “Then they attacked and beat them all; and they detained the men, and laid the young men prostrate on the ground, when they beat them.”
Israeli police said in a statement that security units were forced to enter the compound after what they called masked rioters barricaded themselves inside the mosque with fireworks, sticks and stones.
“When the police were found, stones were thrown at them and fireworks were fired from inside the latter by the disturbed crowd,” he said, adding that a policeman was wounded in the leg.
Thousands of worshipers spent the night in the last compound, amid possible fears of Jewish visitors to the place they venerate on the Temple Mount, the site of the two ancient Temples of Judaism.
Videos circulating on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, showed torches going off and knocking people inside the mosque.
Palestinian lawyer Firas al-Jibrini said the police arrested about 500 people in question.
The incident drew a sharp reaction from Arab countries. Jordan and Egypt, both in recent US-aided efforts to diffuse tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, strongly condemned each proposal, while Saudi Arabia, with which Israel hopes to normalize relations, said Israel would “attack” Al. -Aqsa peace efforts failed.
The Palestinian leadership condemned the attacks on Israeli worshipers, which they described as a crime.
“We warn against the occupation against the red lines in the holy places, which will lead to a large explosion,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Israeli military said the soldier was injured during clashes with Palestinians in the western town of Bank Beit Ummar.
Last year, Israeli forces made thousands of arrests in the West Bank and killed more than 250 Palestinians, while more than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians died in Palestinian attacks.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located, in a 1967 war it later annexed as a non-internationally recognized movement. He looks upon Jerusalem as his eternal and undivided head.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem for the capital of an independent state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza.
Reporting by Sinan Abu Mayzer, Ammar Awad, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ali Sawafta; Additional report by Nisreen Salem; Henriette Chacar wrote; Editing by Stephen Coates
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