Palestinians, Israeli Security Forces Continue to Clash in Jerusalem
At least 100 Palestinians were injured during unrest in Jerusalem on Saturday and early Sunday morning. The unrest came as some 90,000 Muslims worshipped on the Temple Mount to mark Laylat al-Qadr, considered the night on which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is the holiest night of the month of Ramadan.
Most of the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces took place on the Temple Mount. In addition, clashes broke out near Damascus Gate in the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians massed on the border with Gaza to protest the violence against Muslim worshippers in Jerusalem. A rocket was fired from Gaza at southern Israel late on Saturday night. The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that it responded with an airstrike on a Hamas military position in southern Gaza.
The IDF reportedly plans to send additional troops to Jerusalem for Sunday and Monday, which is Jerusalem Day, a celebration of the reunification of the city which brings large crowds of Jewish celebrants and includes a national religious march through the city’s Muslim Quarter. The increase in security comes amid warnings of possible terror attacks in the city and in the West Bank. Three Palestinian gunmen were stopped at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank. Two were killed by Israel Border Police after opening fire on them. The gunmen are believed to have been planning a major terror attack on Israeli civilians.
About 200 Palestinian rioters were injured on Friday in clashes with Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount.
Unrest has been mounting since the beginning of Ramadan, when Muslim worshippers were denied access to the steps in front of Damascus Gate, which for years had been a popular gathering place after evening prayers services at the end of the daily Ramadan fast. In addition, Israel’s Supreme Court is set to rule on Monday about the eviction of some 70 Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, which are owned by Jewish nationalist groups.