It was unclear what set off the violence at Al-Aqsa, which erupted when Israeli police in riot gear deployed in massive numbers as hundreds 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 mentioned 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 sanctions at a well-liked gathering place and have reignited in current days over threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their houses in east Jerusalem, which is claimed by each side within the many years -old battle.
It was unclear what set off the violence at Al-Aqsa, which erupted when Israeli police in riot gear deployed in massive numbers as hundreds of Muslim worshippers have been holding night prayers on the sprawling hilltop esplanade.
All through the evening massive teams of protesters may very well 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 advanced, which incorporates the Al-Aqsa mosque and the long-lasting golden dome of the Rock.
The Palestinian Crimson Crescent emergency service mentioned 88 of the wounded have been hospitalized. The Palestinian Well being Ministry mentioned 83 folks have been injured by rubber-coated bullets, together with three who have been shot within the eye, two with critical head accidents and two with damaged jaws.
The Israeli police mentioned protesters hurled stones, fireworks and different objects at them, wounding 17 officers, half of whom have been hospitalized. “We are going to reply with a heavy hand to all violent disturbances, riots and assaults on our forces,” it mentioned in an announcement late Friday.
The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third holiest website in Islam. It’s also the holiest website for church buildings, who confer with it because the Temple Mount as a result of it was the situation 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 mentioned. Hundreds protested afterwards, waving the inexperienced flags of the Islamic militant group Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans.
In the beginning 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.
However in current 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 neighborhood.
America mentioned it was “deeply involved” about each the violence and the threatened evictions, and was in touch with leaders on each side to try to de-escalate tensions.
“It’s essential to keep away from steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace,” the US State Division mentioned in an announcement. “This contains evictions in East Jerusalem, settlement exercise, dwelling demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
The European Union additionally urged calm. It mentioned the potential evictions have been of “critical concern,” including that such actions are “unlawful beneath worldwide humanitarian legislation 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 evening is “Laylat al-Qadr” or the “Evening of Future,” probably the most sacred within the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Worshippers will collect for intense nighttime prayers at Al-Aqsa.
Sunday evening is the beginning of Jerusalem Day, a nationwide vacation by which Israel celebrates its annexation of East Jerusalem and non secular nationalists maintain parades and different celebrations within the metropolis. On Monday, an Israeli court docket is predicted to challenge a verdict on the evictions.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, together with the West Financial institution and Gaza – territories the Palestinians need for his or her future state – within the 1967 Mideast warfare. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a transfer not acknowledged internationally and views your entire metropolis as its capital.
The Palestinians view east Jerusalem – which incorporates main holy websites for leaders, 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 “brave stand” of the protesters and mentioned Israel bore full accountability for the violence.
Israel’s International Ministry had earlier accused the Palestinians of seizing on the threatened evictions, which it described as a “real-estate dispute between personal events,” 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 mentioned they’d 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 an off-the-cuff cease-fire that now seems to be fraying.
In an interview with a Hamas-run TV station, the group’s high chief Ismail Haniyeh addressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by identify, warning him to not “play with fireplace.”
“Neither you, nor your military and police, can win this battle,” he mentioned. “What’s occurring in Jerusalem is an intifada that should not cease.”