Jerusalem: Renewed clashes on Temple Mount


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Status: 04/06/2023 04:55 a.m

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces broke out again at night on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Previously, there had been international calls for calm and prudence.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians broke out again at night on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Groups of young Palestinians threw firecrackers and stones at police officers and tried to barricade themselves in the al-Aqsa mosque late in the evening, Israeli media reported, citing the police. They would have prevented believers from leaving the mosque. The police cleared the way for the believers to leave the mosque and drove the Palestinians out of the complex.

Mutual shelling after last night’s violence

On Wednesday night, Israeli security forces clashed with dozens of Palestinians on the grounds of the Temple Mount. According to the police, around 350 people were arrested. They barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, set off firecrackers and threw stones. Police reportedly used tear gas, batons and flashbangs to evacuate the mosque. According to the Red Crescent Ambulance Service, around 40 Palestinians were injured by police beatings and rubber bullets.

In response, radical Palestinians from the Gaza Strip fired at least ten rockets into Israeli territory during the night. In the early morning, Israel then attacked several targets in the coastal strip.

Situation particularly tense during Ramadan

Violent confrontations have repeatedly occurred in the area around the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in recent years. In 2021, the situation escalated into an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also sacred to Jews because there used to be two Jewish temples there.

Before the start of the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, there were fears that the already tense security situation in the country would deteriorate. A particularly large number of Muslims are currently coming to the Temple Mount to pray there during the month of fasting. The week-long Jewish Passover festival also began on Wednesday. One of the customs is a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

USA and UN shocked by violence

The US and the UN have expressed their shock at the violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

“We are extremely concerned by the ongoing violence and we call on all sides to avoid further escalation,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. Israelis and Palestinians must work together “to de-escalate this tension,” Kirby added. Peace must be restored.

Guterres shocked by violence

According to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “shocked and appalled” by the images of Israeli police officers beating Palestinians in the mosque.

The violence is particularly shocking because it comes at a time “holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims” and should be a “time of peace and non-violence.”

UN envoys condemned attack on emergency services

UN envoy Tor Wennesland said he was “appalled at the images of violence.” The beatings against Palestinians and the high number of arrests are “disturbing”. Nevertheless, he condemned the use of stones and fireworks against the emergency services.

The German government also called for de-escalation. Everyone who has an influence on the situation is responsible “that no more fuel is poured on the fire,” said a spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office.

Abbas spokesman fears “big explosion”

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the actions of the Israeli security forces. He warned against “crossing the red lines at the holy sites,” as reported by the Palestinian news agency Wafa. This could lead to a “big explosion”.

The radical Palestinian organization Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, spoke of an “unprecedented crime”. She called on the Palestinians in the West Bank to “flow en masse to Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

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