Dozens of people have been killed so far
Ground Report | New Delhi: 65 people have been killed in fresh bloody clashes between Israel and the Palestine. Jewish settlers in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem have been trying for years to evict Arabs from their homes.
The latest clashes erupted on the last Friday of Ramadan during Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site after Muslim shrines, whose fire has spread from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.
Violence has been raging in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank since last week. Palestinians hurled stones, bottles and incendiary objects at Israeli police, who were attacking them with rubber bullets and stun grenades.
The site of Al-Aqsa Mosque is also sacred to the Jews, where according to their holy book, two temples were established. More than 220 people, mostly Palestinians, have been injured in the clashes.
Violence erupted in East Jerusalem on Saturday, spreading to other parts of the city.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, about 121 Palestinians were injured that night, while Israeli police claimed 17 of their personnel were injured.
A four-member group from the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations has expressed “deep concern” over the recent wave of violence in the Middle East.
Jewish settler groups in Sheikh Jarrah, near East Jerusalem, have been fighting a long-running legal battle to evict Arabs from their homes, and have been the cause of recent unrest.
Earlier this year, a lower court ruling in favor of settlers angered Palestinians.
But after a Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal, the Israeli Ministry of Justice postponed Jewish settlement in Arab homes in light of “circumstances.”
Pope Francis also called for an end to the violence. However, Palestinians and Israeli police clashed again in East Jerusalem on Saturday night and Sunday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Israel’s use of force in response to the protests.
The Palestinian Red Crescent says at least 395 Palestinians were injured and more than 200 were hospitalized in fierce clashes at a mosque on Monday.
Fears of further chaos were temporarily allayed when the Israeli plan to “celebrate” the anniversary of the Jewish state’s capture of the old city in 1967 was canceled.
But then Hamas threatened to expel its security forces from the mosque compound.
In Gaza, militants fired more than 200 rockets at Israel. In the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes and helicopters carried out 130 strikes on “military targets” in response to Hamas’ action.
The Israeli bombing killed 28 Palestinians, including 10 children. Islamic Jihad said two of its commanders were among those killed.
Israel says two Israelis were killed in a Hamas rocket attack on the Israeli coastal town of Ashkelon, north of Gaza, on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to step up attacks in response.
On the other hand, one Palestinian was killed and another was wounded in the firing of the Israeli army in the north of the occupied West Bank.
In the evening, a 12-story building in Gaza, which housed the offices of several senior Hamas commanders, was completely destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.
In retaliation, Hamas says it fired 130 rockets at Tel Aviv, where air strike sirens were sounded.
The Hamas attack also affected air operations at Ben Gurion, Israel’s largest civilian airport.
As many as 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed since Monday, with Israel saying Wednesday it had fired 1,050 rockets in the past 60 hours.
Israel said 850 rockets either landed in Israel or were stopped by the Iron Dome air defense system, while 200 low-impact rockets landed in Gaza.
With Inputs from AFP