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Cross-border fire in Gaza after Israeli police raid Al-Aqsa mosque

Israeli police entered Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound earlier than daybreak on Wednesday and clashed with worshippers, in what police mentioned was a response to rioting that set off a livid response throughout the West Financial institution and cross border strikes in Gaza.

The incident, through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of the Jewish Passover, got here amid fears that tensions constructed up throughout a 12 months of escalating violence might be unleashed on the Al-Aqsa mosque, the place clashes in 2021 set off a 10-day struggle with Gaza.

In a single day, at the very least 9 rockets have been fired from Gaza, prompting air strikes from Israel, which struck what it mentioned have been Hamas coaching camps, setting off ground-shaking explosions that have been heard throughout the blockaded coastal strip.

Witnesses mentioned Israeli tanks additionally shelled Hamas positions alongside the border fence within the southern a part of the Gaza strip.

Israeli police stroll contained in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, early on April 5, 2023 after clashes erupted throughout Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.

Ahmad Gharabli | Afp | Getty Pictures

The Palestinian Pink Crescent mentioned 12 Palestinians sustained wounds from rubber-tipped bullets and beatings in clashes with Israeli police. It added that Israeli forces have been stopping its medics from reaching the world.

“Within the yard to the jap a part of the compound, the police fired tear fuel and stun grenades, it was a scene that I am unable to describe,” mentioned Fahmi Abbas, a worshipper on the mosque. “Then they stormed in and began beating everybody.

They detained individuals and put the younger males face down on the bottom whereas they continued beating them.”

Israeli police mentioned in an announcement that safety items have been pressured to enter the compound after what it referred to as masked agitators locked themselves contained in the mosque with fireworks, sticks and stones.

“When the police entered, stones have been thrown at them and fireworks have been fired from contained in the mosque by a big group of agitators,” the assertion mentioned, including {that a} police officer was wounded within the leg.

Hundreds of worshippers have been spending the evening within the mosque compound, amid fears of doable clashes with Jewish guests to the location, which they revere because the Temple Mount, the location of Judaism’s two historic Temples.

Movies circulating on social media, which Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm, confirmed fireworks going off and police beating individuals contained in the mosque.

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Palestinian lawyer Firas al-Jibrini mentioned police arrested round 500 individuals who have been taken for questioning.

The incident drew a pointy response from Arab nations. Jordan and Egypt, each concerned in current U.S.-backed efforts to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, issued separate statements strongly condemning the incident, whereas Saudi Arabia, with whom Israel hopes to normalize ties, mentioned Israel’s “storming” of Al-Aqsa undermined peace efforts.

The Palestinian management condemned Israel’s assaults on worshippers, which they described as against the law.

“We warn the occupation towards crossing purple traces at holy websites, which can result in an enormous explosion,” mentioned Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinians within the West Financial institution city of Beit Ummar.

Over the previous 12 months, Israeli forces have made hundreds of arrests within the West Financial institution and killed greater than 250 Palestinians, whereas greater than 40 Israelis and three Ukrainians have died in Palestinian assaults.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, together with the Outdated Metropolis the place the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is situated, in a 1967 struggle and later annexed it in a transfer not acknowledged internationally. It regards Jerusalem as its everlasting and indivisible capital.

Palestinians need East Jerusalem for the capital of an impartial state they search within the West Financial institution and Gaza.