Conflicts & War

Dozens injured in fresh Al-Aqsa compound clashes

Jerusalem, Apr 22 (EFE).- Dozens of people were injured in fresh clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police on Friday morning at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

They came a day after that the Islamist movement Hamas urged people to “mobilize” at Friday prayers.

The Red Crescent said that 31 Palestinians were injured, of which 14 were taken to hospital.

According to Israeli police, Palestinians rioted after the 4 am (02:00 GMT) prayers, throwing stones and fireworks at officers.

A police spokesman insisted that officers intervened at the end of the prayers, after which the clashes escalated and moved to the Western Wall, where Jewish prayers were taking place.

“Police forces were forced to use riot dispersal means and to push the mob back,” said police in a statement, in which they pledged to continue to guarantee freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem.

Clashes at the site have taken place almost daily since last Friday when more than 150 Palestinians and three officers were injured, in addition to some 400 arrests, and during a week in which Muslim Ramadan and Jewish Passover coincide.

The site of biblical temples is the most sacred for Jews, who call it Temple Mount, and Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site for Muslims.

According to convention, Jews can only enter as visitors and pray at the nearby Western Wall. However, Palestinians have been angered by repeated visits by Israeli Jews to the site.

The Gaza Strip and Israel have exchanged fire for two consecutive nights, so far causing no casualties, but sparking concern of escalation after similar unrest led to an 11-day war last year.

On Thursday, Hamas leader Ismael Haniye, from exile in Qatar, said that “we are still at the beginning of the battle” and threatened more forceful action if the disturbances in Al-Aqsa continued.

The Israeli army closed the crossings into Israel from the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday night to prevent the holidays from being used to carry out attacks, which is standard practice every year on these dates. EFE


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