Conflicts & War

Christians celebrate Easter Sunday in Jerusalem amid tension

Jerusalem, Apr 17 (EFE).- Christians from around the world marked Easter in Jerusalem on Sunday, amid rising violence at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Early in the day, pilgrims walked the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem toward the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, considered the holiest place in Christianity.

In a Mass led by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, hundreds of faithful gathered around the Edicule, which is believed to be housing the tomb of Jesus Christ, to celebrate his resurrection after he was crucified.

Easter Sunday marks “the center of our faith, that God is with us, has risen and gives us a future,” Spanish Benedictine Eduardo Lopez tells Efe.

Only hundreds of believers made it to Easter Mass this year, compared to the thousands of people who gathered before the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign worshippers could not attend the mass in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions, but although a semblance of normality has returned this year, streets and temples are not crowded with pilgrims as before.

Celebrations are overshadowed by clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the region, which come at a particularly sensitive time.

The Holy Week coincides this year with the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, leading many worshippers of the three religions to gather in the Old City in East Jerusalem, occupied and annexed by Israel.

The Esplanade of the Mosques, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Wailing Wall, the most religious Jewish site in the world, are also located there.

Clashes on Sunday left 19 Palestinians injured, four of which were transferred to a hospital, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent on Sunday.

On Friday, Israeli police stormed inside the al-Aqsa mosque compound after hundreds of Palestinians who gathered at the site threw stones and fireworks.

Some 152 Palestinians and three Israeli officers were injured during the incident, which come after a week of violence in the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army has carried out multiple raids after a series of Palestinian attacks in recent weeks. EFE

jma/smq/mp

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