El-Sissi welcomes an American delegation on the Palestinian question
Jerusalem: More than 20 Israelis and Palestinians were injured in multiple incidents in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday, two days after major violence at the site.
The latest clashes bring the number of injured since Friday to more than 170, at a tense time when the Jewish holiday of Passover coincides with Ramadan. They also follow deadly violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank in late March and early this month that killed 36 people.
Early Sunday morning, “hundreds” of Palestinian protesters inside the mosque compound began gathering piles of stones, shortly before Jewish visitors arrived, police said.
Jews are allowed to visit but not pray at the site, also known as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
Police said their forces had entered the compound in order to “bring out” protesters and “restore order”.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said 19 Palestinians were injured, with at least five hospitalized. He said some were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.
An AFP team near the entrance to the compound early Sunday morning saw barefoot Jewish worshipers leaving the site, protected by heavily armed police.
Outside the Old City in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, Palestinian youths threw stones at passing buses, resulting in seven people being treated for minor injuries at Shaare Zedek Hospital, the facility said. medical.
Video released by police showed two Israeli buses, their windshields and side windows shattered, driving down a road near the Old City as young men threw rocks at them. Police said they arrested 18 Palestinians.
Senior Palestinian official Hussein Al Sheikh said Sunday that “Israel’s dangerous escalation in Al-Aqsa compound…is a blatant attack on our holy sites”, and called on the international community to intervene.
The leader of the Islamist movement Hamas which controls the Palestinian enclave of Gaza meanwhile warned Israel that “Al-Aqsa is ours and ours alone”.
“Our people have the right to access and pray there, and we will not bow to (Israeli) repression and terror,” Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement.
Later Sunday morning, mosques in Palestinian neighborhoods of annexed East Jerusalem broadcast calls for people to head to the Al-Aqsa compound.
Weeks of rising tensions have seen two deadly attacks by Palestinians in or near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv in late March and early April, alongside mass arrests by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
A total of 14 people have been killed in attacks on Israel since March 22, including a shooting in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish town in greater Tel Aviv.
Twenty-two Palestinians were killed in the same period, including assailants who targeted Israelis, according to an AFP tally.
On Friday morning, police clashed with Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa compound, including inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, drawing strong condemnation from Muslim countries. These clashes injured some 150 people.
The United Nations has called for calm, a year after clashes in and around the mosque compound escalated into an 11-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for free access to holy sites in Jerusalem and prayed for peace in the city.
“May Israelis, Palestinians and all who inhabit the Holy City, as well as pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace, live in brotherhood and enjoy free access to the Holy Places in mutual respect for the rights of everyone,” he said in his speech. Easter address.
Despite the tensions, a few blocks from the Al-Aqsa compound, hundreds of Christians staged a boisterous parade through the alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City to mark Easter at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where they believe Jesus been crucified.
Marching bands led the processions with drums and bagpipes, before worshipers gathered in the cavernous church for mass.