In recent weeks, tension has soared in Jerusalem, marked by clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in the Old Walled City, located in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured and annexed in the 1967 war.
One of the hot spots in the Old City was the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism. Another driver of Palestinian anger has been the threat of eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in an area of East Jerusalem by Israeli settlers.
Monday was a long day of anger and deadly violence, exposing the deep divisions in Jerusalem, even as Israel tried to celebrate its capture of the city’s eastern sector and its sensitive holy sites over the years. a half-century. With dozens of rockets flying at Israel throughout the night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with senior security officials and warned that the fighting could continue, despite calls for calm from the United States, from the United States. ‘Europe and elsewhere.
Hamas, the ruling militant group in the Gaza Strip, fired dozens of rockets on Monday evening, setting off air raid sirens all the way to Jerusalem. The roadblock came after Hamas gave Israel a deadline to withdraw its forces from the Al-Aqsa compound.
As of Tuesday morning, Hamas and other Gaza militants fired more than 200 rockets. This included a six rocket barrage that targeted Jerusalem, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. It set off air raid sirens across Jerusalem, and explosions could be heard in what was believed to be the city’s first target since a 2014 war.
There appeared to have been some early signs of de-escalation in Jerusalem early on Tuesday. Palestinian worshipers performed the dawn prayer at the mosque without clashes, as Israel apparently limited the presence of its police around the compound. Amateur videos showed dozens of worshipers walking towards the mosque chanting “We sacrifice our blood, our soul for Al-Aqsa”.
In Gaza, an Israeli drone killed a man in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis on Tuesday morning, local media reported. In another strike, a woman and two men were killed when a missile hit the upper floors of an apartment building in the Shati refugee camp on the outskirts of Gaza City, the ministry said. Gaza Health and Rescue Services.
The armed wing of Hamas said it had stepped up rocket barrages following the airstrike on the house.
The IDF said it carried out dozens of airstrikes across Gaza overnight, targeting what it called Hamas military installations and agents. He said a Hamas tunnel, rocket launchers and at least eight militants were hit.
Dozens of rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. But one of them landed near a house on the outskirts of Jerusalem, causing slight damage to the structure and causing a brush fire nearby. In southern Israel, an Israeli was slightly injured after a missile struck a vehicle.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the terrorist organizations in Gaza crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles on the outskirts of Jerusalem.”
He said the fighting could continue for some time and that “anybody who attacks us will pay a heavy price,” he said, warning that the fighting could “continue for a while”.
Gaza health officials gave no further breakdown of the casualties. At least 15 of the 22 dead in Gaza have been attributed to the airstrikes. Seven of the dead were family members, including three children, who died in a mysterious explosion in the town of Beit Hanoun, north Gaza. It was not clear whether the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike or a stray rocket. More than 100 Gazans were injured in the airstrikes, the health ministry said.
In a statement released early Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said rocket attacks would continue until Israel stops “all scenes of terrorism and aggression in Jerusalem and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. .
Tensions at the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount, have sparked repeated violence in the past.
In Monday’s unrest, Israeli police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in clashes with Palestinians throwing stones at the compound.
More than a dozen tear gas canisters and stun grenades landed in the mosque as police and protesters clashed inside the walled compound surrounding it, an Associated Press photographer said on site. Smoke rose in front of the mosque and the golden-domed shrine on the site, and rocks littered the nearby plaza. Inside one area of the compound, shoes and debris were strewn on ornate carpets.
More than 600 Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem alone, including more than 400 who needed treatment in hospitals and clinics, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Palestinians and police reported further clashes on Monday evening. Israeli police also reported unrest in northern Israel, where Arab protesters burned tires and threw stones and fireworks at security forces. Police said 46 people were arrested.
Monday’s clashes came after weeks of near-night clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The month tends to be a time of heightened religious sensibilities.
More recently, tensions have been fueled by the planned eviction of dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where Israeli settlers have waged a long legal battle to seize their properties.
Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday postponed a key decision in the case, citing “the circumstances.”
In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned the rocket attacks on Israel “in the strongest terms” and called on all parties to calm the situation.
“More broadly, we are deeply concerned about the situation in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including the violent clashes in Jerusalem,” he said. He said the United States would remain “fully engaged” and praised measures taken by Israel to calm things down, including the court’s delay in the deportation case.
In an apparent attempt to avoid further confrontations, Israeli authorities have altered the planned route of a march of thousands of nationalist Jews waving the flag through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City to mark Jerusalem Day.
The annual festival is meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. But it is widely seen as a provocation as the road cuts through the heart of Palestinian areas.