Gaza militants fire rockets after clashes flare in Jerusalem

Militants in Gaza have fired at least 35 rockets into Israele in one of the most intense flare-ups in months, seemingly triggered by days of tensions in Jerusalem in which far-right Jewish groups and the Israeli police have clashed with Palestinians.

Hours of sustained rocket launches early on Saturday – and Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the strip using fighter jets and attack helicopters – broke a months-long lull along the frontier with the coastal enclave.

The rockets, some of which were claimed by a small military group affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, caused no injuries. They appeared to be a response to several nights of unrest in mostly Palestinian east Jerusalem as well as protest across towns in the occupied West Bank.

Violence in Jerusalem spiked on Thursday night as hundreds of far-right Jewish Israelis marched down city streets chanting “death to Arabs” and confronted Palestinians. Mounted police in riot gear attempted to keep the two sides apart but Palestinian medics said that by the end of the night 100 people had been injured, con 21 taken to hospital. Israeli police said they had made 50 arrests without specifying if they were Israelis or Palestinians.

One video shared on social media showed what appeared to be several Jewish boys throwing stones at an Arab house as children screamed. Un altro filmed a group of Palestinian youths kicking a person on the ground as a voice off-camera shouts “break the settler”, a reference to Israelis who have taken land in the Palestinian territories.

Nel frattempo, Palestinians have accused Israeli police of brutality in their handling of nightly protests, which erupted in response to restrictions on gatherings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Fears of a further crackdown were raised on Friday after Israel’s public security minister, Amir Ohana, posted on Facebook that police forces had his “complete backing to use all means, force and the necessary power to restore law and order”.

Later that night, police again used stun grenades to disperse Palestinian crowds, including young men who hurled stones and firecrackers at officers and set fire to rubbish bins. tuttavia, due to the weekly Jewish Sabbath, most of the far-right Israelis from the night before were at home.

In an unusually strong rebuke, Ned Price, the US state department spokesperson, seemed to condemn the anti-Arab chanting without mentioning it specifically. “We are deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Jerusalem," lui twittato. “The rhetoric of extremist protesters chanting hateful and violent slogans must be firmly rejected,” adding that Israeli authorities should ensure the “rights of all in Jerusalem”.

In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, condemned the “police and settlers’ attack on Palestinians in Jerusalem” but called on worshippers to remain calm.

Neighbouring Jordan blamed Israel for the violence. “We strongly condemn the racist attacks on Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and urge prompt international action to protect Jerusalemites,” foreign minister Ayman Safadi twittato.

Since Ramadan began on 13 aprile, Palestinians have complained that police have prevented them from gathering on the steps near Damascus Gate in the Old City following night-time prayers, a long but unofficial tradition. Authorities have blocked access by erecting metal barriers in the plaza.

Allo stesso tempo, videos of street harassment and several attacks between Jews and Palestinians during the past two weeks have inflamed the situation. One photo, taken in the coastal port area of Jaffa in Israel and widely shared domestically, showed an Arab man kicking a rabbi who local media reported was in his 60s.

Jerusalem has always been the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with its holy sites revered by both Jews and Muslims. The Old City’s Western Wall forms part of the holiest site in Judaism – the Temple Mount. It is equally part of the al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, tuttavia, with the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque above it, where ten of thousands of Muslims pray nightly during Ramadan.

The unique sensitivity of the complex has been a focal point of previous violent episodes. A period of intense Israeli-Palestinian violence, known as the second intifada, began in 2000 when Israeli politician Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit to the site. Nel 2017 the installation of security cameras and metal detectors there led to days of clashes and fatal incidents.

Israeli forces captured the whole of Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, claiming the entire area as its “undivided” capital. Palestinians hope the eastern parts of the city will become the capital of a future state to include the occupied West Bank and Gaza, although a decades-long effort to end the Israeli occupation has floundered.

An increase in clashes is common during the annual Ramadan month of fasting, usually at night but calming down in the daytime. Incidents in Jerusalem are often closely linked to Gaza, which is about 40 miles away but whose roughly 2 million Palestinian inhabitants cannot travel freely to the holy city due to a crippling Israeli blockade.

Di sabato, Hamas, the Islamist group that rules inside Gaza, did not claim it fired any rockets, but its armed wing voiced support for east Jerusalem Palestinians. “The spark you light today will be the wick of the explosion to come in the face of the enemy,” it said in a statement.

Israel said its air force had bombed several “military targets in the Gaza Strip” belonging to Hamas. The country has fought three wars with Hamas and holds it responsible for all rockets fired out of the enclave.

I commenti sono chiusi.