According to Israeli sources, there were serious clashes in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – in the middle of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, and shortly before the start of the Jewish Passover festival. Police said they entered the mosque to evict masked rioters who had brought “firecrackers, sticks and stones” into the mosque. They barricaded themselves there and chanted “slogans inciting hatred and violence.” Some of them threw stones at police officers. Eventually, they were forced to intervene and drive people out to allow morning prayers. Two police officers were injured.
Israeli police officers secure the area on the Temple Mount – in the background the Dome of the Rock
Israeli police released video footage showing firecrackers exploding inside the mosque and people throwing stones. Another video shows police officers with shields advancing into the mosque. In addition, boxes with fireworks can be seen on a carpet and police officers who take at least five people away. In total, the security forces arrested 350 people after riots on the premises of the mosque. According to media reports, seven people on the Palestinian side were injured by rubber bullets and beatings.
The militant Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, called on Palestinians in the West Bank to “flock en masse to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Demonstrators took to the streets in several places in the Gaza Strip. They burned car tires and announced that they would “defend and protect” the Al-Aska Mosque.
Rocket fire on Israel
After the riots in the mosque, Palestinian militants fired several rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. The Israeli army said five rockets fired towards Israeli territory were intercepted by air defenses and four more rockets fell in uninhabited areas.
The Israeli Air Force shelled several targets in the Palestinian Territory after the rocket attacks. According to the Israeli army, these included a military area in the north of the coastal area and a military post along the border with Israel. Security circles in the Gaza Strip said the facilities belonged to the armed wing of the ruling Hamas there. They were badly damaged in the attack.
cwo/se/AN (afp, dpa, rtr)