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Israeli security forces and Palestinians clash at al-Aqsa . mosque compound

Israeli and Palestinian security forces clashed Friday at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews, after a week of simmering tensions and the shooting First shooting in Gaza in months.

The violence follows a series of Palestinian attacks on Israeli cities over the past month, a major Israeli military operation in the occupied West Bank, a political crisis that has put the future of Israel in question. Israel’s ruling coalition, and between the confluence of the Muslim holy day of Ramadan and the Jewish festival of Passover.

The unrest now threatens to spill over into Israel’s Arab cities, with Israeli police putting some of their reserves on alert ahead of protests planned for later on Wednesday. Six. Similar tensions led to last year’s 11-day conflict between Israel and the Hamas rebel group in Gaza.

Early morning clashes at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, have been frequent over the past week. Early on Friday, Israeli riot police deployed stun grenades and rubber bullets against about 200 Palestinian protesters holding rocks, fireworks and flying Hamas flags.

“With our souls, with our blood, we die for you al-Aqsa,” some Palestinians chanted.

After three hours of clashes, Israeli police said the compound had been cleared of “rioters” but unrest began again in the afternoon with Israeli forces releasing tear gas via an aerial plane. riders to disperse Palestinian crowds.

Palestinian protesters use makeshift shields during clashes with Israeli police at al-Aqsa mosque compound

Palestinian protesters use makeshift shields during clashes with Israeli police at the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday © Mahmoud Illean / AP

Palestinian officials have accused Israel of violating longstanding arrangements around the holy site, known in Jewish tradition as the Temple Mount, which houses the biblical synagogue.

According to some analysts, Jewish worshipers are allowed to visit the compound but not pray, although extremist groups have in recent years stretched the meaning of “visit” to its breaking point, according to some analysts — including last week during Passover when more than 2,000 Israelis visited the flashpoint site, walking past with police escorts while chanting incantations.

Palestinian Authority Senior Minister Hussein al-Sheikh on Tuesday said the Israeli government “under its protection, allows Jewish extremists to storm al-Aqsa daily. . . the so-called ‘status quo’ is being destroyed”. Israeli officials have denied the allegations and said the escalating tensions were the result of a coordinated campaign by Islamist militant groups, including Hamas.

Israeli police on Wednesday blocked an extremist march to Jerusalem’s predominantly Muslim Damascus Gate area, as Israeli authorities announced that non-Muslims would be barred from visiting. al-Aqsa mosque compound from Friday until the peak of Ramadan at the end of the month.

“Israel is preserving and will continue to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount and we have no intention of changing it,” Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, said on Thursday while meeting a delegation of the Chinese foreign ministry. Ky was sent to the area to help restore calm.

Jordan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – all of which have official relations with Israel – condemned Israel’s actions in Jerusalem. The Arab-Israeli Ra’am Party, a key ally of the Israeli government, has announced the suspension of parliament due to what it calls Israel’s “violations” in al-Aqsa.

“The scale of violence this year is smaller [compared with the lead-up to last year’s Gaza war]but the problem is that in the past week, the focus has been on the religious element of the conflict, al-Aqsa with Temple Mount, Ramadan with Passover, which is very dangerous,” said Ibrahim Dalalsha, director of the Horizon Center. a Ramallah thinker.

Twice this week, a rocket has been fired from Gaza into southern Israel, although no Palestinian faction has claimed responsibility. In response, Israel twice conducted air strikes against Hamas military targets. No injuries were reported to either side. It was the first such exchange of flames between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel since January.

Analysts say both Hamas and Israel are likely unwilling to extend outright hostilities. “Hamas was careful to stop Gaza, they are not ready yet [after last year’s war],” Dalalsha said. “For them, the time is not yet ripe for confrontation in Gaza, but the time has come to escalate tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

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