Scores more wounded in new Jerusalem clashes

AFP

9th May, 2021 12:20:53 PM printer

Scores more wounded in new Jerusalem clashes

Scores of people were injured Saturday as Israeli police fired water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian protesters in annexed east Jerusalem, a day after fierce clashes at the city’s Al-Aqsa mosque.

The fresh violence, a day after more than 200 people were wounded at the mosque, prompted international calls for an end to the violence.

Police said they dispersed the rally in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where demonstrators had thrown stones at security forces.

Officials said Sunday a rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip, with the Israel Defense Forces responding by striking a “military target” in the south. Earlier, officers had fired tear gas towards protesters on the border.

In Jerusalem, police said they made three arrests for attacks on officers, while Palestinians reported 13 other arrests earlier in the day.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 90 people were wounded in Saturday’s clashes in Jerusalem, revising up their earlier estimate of 53.

AFP journalists in Jerusalem said Israeli riot police had fired rubber bullets, sound grenades and water cannon on Palestinians Saturday, some of whom threw projectiles at the police. One officer received a head injury, said police.

On Friday, riot police stormed Al-Aqsa mosque compound, after they said Palestinians threw rocks and fireworks at officers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the police actions.

“Israel is acting responsibly to ensure respect for law and order in Jerusalem while allowing freedom of worship,” he said in a meeting of security officials.

The violence was the worst in years at Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina, located on the site Jews revere as the Temple Mount.

 

– A focal point –

 

Palestinians have held nightly protests in Sheikh Jarrah against an attempt by Israeli settlers to take over Arab homes.

On Saturday, protesters chanted, waved Palestinian flags and threw stones before police moved in.

Dozens of Arab Israeli protesters also gathered across Israel in solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah residents, holding up signs that read “the occupation is terrorism”.

A reporter for Israeli public TV tweeted footage of a Jewish driver whose car was attacked with stones and windows shattered at the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah Saturday.

Police blocked buses filled with Arabs headed for Jerusalem from northern Israel, saying they would not be allowed “to participate in violent riots”.

Instead, hundreds marched on highways leading to the city.

Thousands of worshippers stayed on at Al-Aqsa on Saturday for Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny), a peak of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, urged Palestinians to remain at Al-Aqsa until Ramadan ends, warning that “the resistance is ready to defend Al-Aqsa at any cost”.

Outside the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, Palestinians set fire to a barricade before police on horseback dispersed the protesters.


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