Few Days To Easter, Clashes Break Out At Jerusalem’s Contested Site (See Why)

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The Israeli police have clashed with dozens of Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem’s contested holy site.

Police said that they conducted a pre-dawn raid after what they called “agitators” with fireworks, sticks and stones shut themselves inside the al-Aqsa mosque.

Palestinians say 14 people were hurt after the police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to clear out the group.

At least nine rockets were later fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, with air alert sirens sounding near Sderot.

The Israeli army said five rockets were intercepted, and another four “landed in open areas”.

No group has so far claimed responsibility – but it is believed that the militant group Hamas approved the firing.

Hamas’ deputy head Saleh Al-Arouri warned that “attacking Islamic sanctities will have a great price and we will burn the ground under their [Israeli] feet”.

The clashes in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem started after a number of Palestinian worshippers had barricaded themselves in the mosque after Ramadan prayers.

Footage taken from within the mosque apparently shows fireworks being fired by the protesters. Israeli police say stones were thrown at them, injuring one police officer.

Another video appears to show Israeli police beating Palestinians with sticks.

The Palestinian Red Crescent later said that Israeli forces were preventing its medics from reaching the mosque.

Palestinian militants had earlier called for Muslims to lock themselves in the mosque to prevent Jewish worshippers from sacrificing a goat for Passover, that begins on Wednesday.

The hilltop site in Jerusalem is the most sacred place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. It is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, site of two Biblical temples, and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the site of Muhammad’s ascent to Heaven.

The entire compound is considered to be al-Aqsa Mosque by Muslims, but the latest clashes were inside the mosque building itself.

Jews and other non-Muslims are allowed to go to the compound but not pray, though Palestinians see visits by Jews as attempts to change the delicate status quo.




Credit: City Mirror News

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