Conflicts & War

Pope Francis urges end to clashes in Jerusalem

Vatican City, May 9 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his concern over the escalating tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City, where violent clashes with Israeli security forces have left scores of Palestinians injured.

After reciting the Regina Caeli prayer, Francis also remembered the victims of a bomb attack near a girls’ school in the western part of the Afghan capital Kabul, calling the bombing an “inhuman act.”

“I am following with particular concern the events in Jerusalem,” Francis said.

“I pray that it may be a place of encounter and not of violent clashes, a place of prayer and peace. Violence begets only violence. Enough of these clashes,” he added.

Meanwhile, Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not allow “violent public disturbances” in Jerusalem after Israeli police clashed with Palestinians for a second night Saturday.

“We will uphold the rule of law and order firmly and responsibly. We will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all religions but we will not allow violent disturbances,” he said during a special government meeting, according to local media outlets.

Around 300 Palestinians have been injured in the violent clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City since Friday evening.

The clashes broke out on May 7 at the Holy Esplanade, where thousands of Muslims had gathered for prayers at the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque on the last Friday of Ramadan.

Sunday morning coincided with Islam’s holy night of Lailat al-Qadr, which saw fresh clashes that caused dozens of injuries.

Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians protesting the eviction of families from their houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which is claimed by Jewish settlement organizations.

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