Tensions build around Jerusalem shrine after Syria rockets

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli warplanes and artillery struck targets in Syria following uncommon rocket hearth from the northeastern neighbor, as Jewish-Muslim tensions reached a peak Sunday at a risky Jerusalem shrine with simultaneous spiritual rituals.

Thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered on the metropolis’s Western Wall, the holiest place the place Jews can pray, for a mass priestly benediction prayer service for the Passover vacation. At the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a walled esplanade above the Western Wall, a whole bunch of Palestinians carried out prayers as a part of observances throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Hundreds of Jews additionally visited the Al-Aqsa compound below heavy police guard Sunday, to whistles and non secular chants from Palestinians protesting their presence. By sunset, the observances had handed with out critical incident.

Such excursions by spiritual and nationalist Jews have elevated in dimension and frequency through the years, and are seen with suspicion by many Palestinians who concern that Israel plans someday to take over the positioning or partition it. Israeli officers say they don’t have any intention of fixing long-standing preparations that permit Jews to go to, however not pray within the Muslim-administered website.

However, the nation is now ruled by essentially the most right-wing authorities in its historical past, with ultra-nationalists who search adjustments within the preparations in senior positions.

Tensions have soared previously week on the flashpoint shrine after an Israeli police raid on the mosque. On a number of events, Palestinians have barricaded themselves contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque with stones and firecrackers, demanding the best to wish there in a single day, one thing Israel has previously solely allowed over the past 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Police eliminated them by drive, detaining a whole bunch and leaving dozens injured.

The violence on the shrine triggered rocket hearth by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, beginning Wednesday, and Israeli airstrikes focused each areas.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s media workplace introduced that the militant group’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah, obtained a delegation headed by Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday. The two mentioned “the most important developments in occupied Palestine, the course of events at al-Aqsa Mosque, and the escalating resistance in the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to general political developments in the region, the readiness of the resistance axis and the cooperation of its parties,” the assertion stated.

Haniyeh, who arrived in Lebanon final week shortly earlier than rockets had been launched at Israel from south Lebanon, had been scheduled to make a public look in Beirut on Friday. But it was canceled for safety causes following the change of strikes between Lebanon and Israel. No group has formally claimed duty for the rocket assaults, however Israel has accused Hamas of being behind them.

Late on Saturday and early Sunday, militants in Syria fired rockets in two salvos towards Israel and the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. A Damascus-based Palestinian group loyal to the Syrian authorities claimed duty for the primary spherical of rockets, saying it was retaliating for the Al-Aqsa raids.

In the primary salvo, one rocket landed in a area within the Golan Heights. Fragments of one other destroyed missile fell into Jordanian territory close to the Syrian border, Jordan’s army reported. In the second spherical, two of the rockets crossed the border into Israel, with one being intercepted and the second touchdown in an open space, the Israeli army stated.

Israel responded with artillery hearth into the realm in Syria from the place the rockets had been fired. Later, the army stated Israeli fighter jets attacked Syrian military websites, together with a compound of Syria’s 4th Division and radar and artillery posts.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned the violence in a phone name with Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog late Saturday, telling Herzog that Muslims couldn’t stay silent concerning the “provocations and threats” towards the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and stated the hostilities which have unfold to Gaza and Lebanon shouldn’t be allowed to escalate additional.

In addition to the cross-border combating, three individuals had been killed over the weekend in Palestinian assaults in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Hundreds of individuals, together with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, attended the funeral for 2 British-Israeli sisters, Maia and Rina Dee, who had been killed in a taking pictures Friday within the West Bank.

They had been buried following an emotional ceremony within the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion within the West Bank. As the 2 our bodies had been introduced into the room, one in all their sisters threw herself down and hugged the lined our bodies.

“May we and no one else in the whole world ever know so much sorrow. Amen,” stated their father, Lee Dee.

An Italian vacationer, Alessandro Parini, 35, a lawyer from Rome, had simply arrived within the metropolis just a few hours earlier with some buddies for a short Easter vacation. He was killed Friday in a suspected car-ramming on Tel Aviv’s beachside promenade.

Over 90 Palestinians and have been killed by Israeli hearth to date this yr, at the very least half of them affiliated with militant teams, in accordance with a tally by The Associated Press. Palestinian assaults on Israelis have killed 19 individuals in that point. All however one had been civilians.


Associated Press writers Suzan Frazer in Ankara, Turkey; Abby Sewell in Beirut and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.

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