Israeli Forces Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque
Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police clashed at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound Friday morning, medics and witnesses said. “Seven injured people were taken to hospital to be treated for upper body injuries,” a member of the Palestinian Red Crescent told AFP.
Witnesses said that Palestinian protestors threw stones at Israeli security forces, who fired rubber bullets at some of the demonstrators. Al-Aqsa is Islam’s third holiest site. Jews refer to it as the Temple Mount, referencing two temples said to have stood there in antiquity. The compound is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, falling within Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
Last year during Ramadan, clashes that flared between Israeli forces and Palestinians visiting the mosque compound led to 11 days of devastating conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Before Ramadan this year, Israel and Jordan, which serves as custodian of holy places in east Jerusalem, stepped up talks in an effort to avoid similar violence.
Friday’s clashes come after three weeks of violence and simmering tensions in the Jewish state.
Israel has been stunned by a string of attacks — some carried out by Arab citizens of Israel linked to or inspired by the Islamic State group, others by Palestinians, and cheered by militant groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
A total of 14 people have been killed in four attacks since March 22, including a shooting spree in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city in greater Tel Aviv, carried out by a Palestinian attacker from Jenin. Twenty-one Palestinians have been killed in that time, including assailants who targeted Israelis, according to an AFP tally.