In the early hours of Wednesday, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City was stormed by the Israeli police, who fired stun grenades at Palestinians that were hurling stones and firecrackers.
The incident occurred during a sensitive holiday season, with Muslims observing Ramadan and Jews preparing for Passover. In response, Palestinian militants from Gaza launched rocket fire on southern Israel, which led to multiple Israeli airstrikes.
The violence has raised concerns about a potential wider conflict. However, by early morning, the Jerusalem compound had quieted down, despite typically being filled with worshippers during Ramadan, the Associated Press reported.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is located on a hilltop compound that is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. Conflicting claims over the site have previously resulted in violence, including an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that governs Gaza.
Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site in Islam, while Jews regard the area as the Temple Mount, their holiest site, as reported by the AP.
While Palestinian militant groups have cautioned that more conflict is on the horizon, a Palestinian official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to lack of authorization, revealed that the Palestinian Authority is engaged in communication with officials in Egypt, Jordan, the United States, and the United Nations in an attempt to alleviate tensions.
Written by staff