Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel for the primary time in months on Monday, in a probably main escalation after clashes at a delicate holy website in Jerusalem and a wave of assaults and army raids elsewhere.
Israel stated it intercepted the rocket, and there have been no quick stories of casualties or harm. Israel holds Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers chargeable for all such projectiles and normally launches airstrikes of their wake. It was the primary such rocket fireplace since New Yr’s Eve.
Hours earlier, the chief of the Islamic Jihad militant group, which boasts an arsenal of rockets, had issued a short, cryptic warning, condemning Israeli “violations” in Jerusalem.
Ziad al-Nakhalah, who relies outdoors the Palestinian territories, stated threats to tighten an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza imposed after Hamas took energy in 2007 “cannot silence us from what’s occurring in Jerusalem and the occupied West Financial institution.”
Palestinians and Israeli police clashed over the weekend in and across the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, which has lengthy been an epicentre of Israeli-Palestinian violence. It’s the third holiest website in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who seek advice from it because the Temple Mount as a result of the mosque stands on a hilltop the place the Jewish temples have been situated in antiquity.
Protests and clashes there final yr finally led to an 11-day Gaza struggle.
A variety of U.S. officers engaged in cellphone calls with Israelis, Palestinians and Arab representatives within the area over the weekend to see to it that tensions in Jerusalem don’t escalate, State Division spokesperson Ned Worth instructed reporters on Monday.
On Friday, not less than 152 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the most recent outbreak in an upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide again to wider battle. The Israeli army on Monday stated it shot down a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel.
Police stated they have been responding to Palestinian stone-throwing and that they have been dedicated to making sure that Jews, Christians and Muslims — whose main holidays are converging this yr — may have a good time them safely. Palestinians view the presence of police on the website as a provocation.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated on Monday, forward of the rocket fireplace, that Israel has been the goal of a “Hamas-led incitement marketing campaign.”
Tensions come amid spiritual holidays
The newest tensions come throughout the confluence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the week-long Jewish vacation of Passover. Christians have been additionally celebrating their holy week main as much as Easter, and tens of 1000’s of tourists have flocked to Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis — residence to main holy websites for all three faiths — for the primary time because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jordan and Egypt, which made peace with Israel many years in the past and co-ordinate with it on safety issues, have condemned its actions on the mosque. Jordan — which serves as custodian of the positioning — summoned Israel’s chargé d’affaires on Monday in protest.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II mentioned the violence with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, agreeing on “the necessity to cease all unlawful and provocative Israeli measures” there, in keeping with an announcement. Jordan deliberate to convene a gathering of different Arab states on the difficulty.
Israel has been working to enhance relations with Jordan over the previous yr and has just lately normalized relations with different Arab states over their shared considerations about Iran. However the Jerusalem clashes and a current wave of violence have introduced renewed consideration to the battle with the Palestinians, which Israel has sought to sideline lately.
An Arab celebration that made historical past final yr by becoming a member of Israel’s governing coalition suspended its participation on Sunday — a largely symbolic act that nonetheless mirrored the sensitivity of the holy website, which is on the emotional coronary heart of the century-old battle.
Israel captured the West Financial institution, together with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — which incorporates the Previous Metropolis — within the 1967 Mideast struggle. The Palestinians search these territories for a future impartial state.
The Palestinians have lengthy feared that Israel plans to take over or partition the mosque compound, and in current weeks calls by Jewish extremists to sacrifice animals there have circulated extensively amongst Palestinians on social media, sparking calls to defend the mosque.
Israeli authorities say they haven’t any intention of fixing the established order, and police are imposing a prohibition on animal sacrifices. Israel says its safety forces have been compelled to enter the compound early Friday after Palestinians stockpiled stones and different objects, and hurled rocks within the course of an adjoining Jewish holy website.
The violence in Jerusalem has come within the wake of a collection of Palestinian assaults inside Israel that killed 14 folks. Israel has launched near-daily arrest raids and different army operations within the occupied West Financial institution that it says are geared toward stopping extra.
The Israeli army stated Monday it arrested 11 Palestinians in operations throughout the occupied West Financial institution in a single day. In a raid within the village of Yamun, close to the town of Jenin, the military stated dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and explosives at troops.
Troopers “responded with stay ammunition towards the suspects who hurled explosive units,” the army stated. The Palestinian Well being Ministry stated two males have been hospitalized after being critically wounded.
Two of the attackers got here from in and round Jenin, which has lengthy been a bastion of armed battle in opposition to Israeli rule.
At the very least 25 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in current weeks, in keeping with an Related Press depend. Many had carried out assaults or have been concerned in clashes, however an unarmed lady and a lawyer who seems to have been a bystander have been additionally amongst these killed.