hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators began collecting
stones on the esplanade shortly before the arrival of Jews who can visit this place, considered the holiest in Judaism, at specific times and under certain conditions, the police said.
Israeli security forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, to
dislodge these demonstrators and
restore ordersaid the police while witnesses and rescuers reported a dozen Palestinians injured in these clashes.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported 19 wounded Palestinians, five of whom were evacuated to local hospitals, noting that some of the wounded had been hit by rubber bullets.
The incidents come as Christian Easter festivities are held on Sunday, as well as prayers for Passover, Passover, and the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Old City of Jerusalem, the crossroads of the three monotheistic religions.
At the same time, near the Old City, located in the eastern part of Jerusalem occupied by Israel since 1967, young Palestinians threw stones at buses carrying Israeli civilians, including minors, according to the police.
Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital reported seven minor injuries from stone-throwing aimed at buses traveling near the Western Wall, the holiest place of prayer in Jewish tradition, while Israeli police reported 18 arrests.
Al Aqsa [nom donné aussi en arabe à l’esplanade des Mosquées, NDLR] is ours, and ours alone, and the Jews have absolutely no right to itsaid in a press release Ismaïl Haniyeh, head of the political wing of Hamas, the Palestinian armed Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip.
Jerusalem is at the center of the conflict [israélo-palestinien, NDLR]and we will continue to defend it in an open battle against the occupiersadded Mr. Haniyeh, while Hussein el-Sheikh, a tenor of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, called on the international community to end
in blatant aggression against the esplanade of the Mosques.
In Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, mosques called on worshipers to come to the esplanade, according to journalists from theAFP. And in the Gaza Strip, more than a dozen rockets were fired Sunday morning towards the Mediterranean Sea, according to media close to Hamas.
Friday morning, after weeks of tension linked to attacks by two Palestinians in the Tel Aviv area and Israeli operations to
counterterrorism in the occupied West Bank, clashes broke out between the police and demonstrators on the Esplanade des Mosques, where the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are located.
The Israeli forces notably entered the Al-Aqsa mosque during these clashes which injured more than 150 Palestinians and aroused strong condemnation from Muslim countries.
Jordan, which administers the esplanade of the Mosques, blamed Israel for this new escalation of violence.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry
denounces the irruption of the Israeli forces in the Al-Aqsa mosque and the expulsion of the faithful [musulmans] by force to allow the entry of extremists [juifs] under their protection.
Sunday, during the traditional blessing
Urbi and orbi at the Vatican, Pope Francis pleaded for access
free to the holy places in Jerusalem.
May Israelis, Palestinians and all inhabitants of the Holy City, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peacesaid the sovereign pontiff.
de-escalation in order to prevent tensions in Jerusalem from turning, like last year, into war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza, a territory under Israeli blockade located about 80 km from Jerusalem, and Israel.