Israeli police attack worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa, Gaza launches rockets at Israel

JERUSALEM, April 5 (Reuters) – Israeli police attacked dozens of worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound earlier than daybreak on Wednesday, witnesses stated, in what Israeli police stated was a response to rioting.

The incident sparked protests throughout the occupied West Bank and the Israeli navy stated 9 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel after sirens blared in southern cities.

Violence in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has surged over the previous yr and there may be concern that tensions might escalate this month, because the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with Judaism’s Passover and Christian Easter.

The Palestinian Red Crescent stated seven Palestinians sustained wounds from rubber-tipped bullets and beatings in clashes with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. It added that Israeli forces have been stopping its medics from reaching the mosque.

“I was sitting on a chair reciting (Qur’an),” an aged girl advised Reuters outdoors the mosque, struggling to catch her breath. “They hurled stun grenades, one of them hit my chest,” she stated as she started to cry.

Israeli police stated in a press release that it was pressured to enter the compound after masked agitators locked themselves contained in the mosque with fireworks, sticks and stones.

“When the police entered, stones were thrown at them and fireworks were fired from inside the mosque by a large group of agitators,” the assertion stated, including {that a} police officer was wounded in the leg.

Friction at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, recognized to Jews because the Temple Mount, has set off violence in latest years.

Palestinian teams condemned Israel’s assaults on worshippers, which they described as against the law.

“We warn the occupation against crossing red lines at holy sites, which will lead to a big explosion,” stated Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Jordan and Egypt, each concerned in latest U.S.-backed efforts to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, issued separate statements condemning the incident.

Videos circulating on social media, which Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm, confirmed fireworks going off and police beating folks contained in the mosque.

The Israeli navy stated 9 rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel, of which at least 4 have been intercepted and 4 landed in open areas.

Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Additional reporting by Nisreen Salem; Writing by Henriette Chacar; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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