A new day of violence between Palestinians and Israeli police on the esplanade of the Mosques in East Jerusalem. A guard was killed in an attack on Friday night while stationed at the entrance to Ariel settlement. Similarly, a Palestinian was shot dead during an Israeli army operation in Azzoun, about twenty kilometers from Ariel.
The ruling Hamas Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip hailed Ariel’s attack as a ‘heroic operation’, saying it was ‘part of our people’s response to the attacks on al-Aqsa. referring to the recent violence on the esplanade of the Jerusalem Mosques.
Friday saw new clashes on this site considered the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest in Judaism under its name of Temple Mount.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 42 Palestinians were injured “during clashes with the occupation forces”, of which 22 were hospitalized, the police having fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters according to witnesses.
Israeli forces entered the esplanade and used “means to disperse the crowd”, after “rioters” had “thrown stones and shot fireworks”, some trying to throw stones at the Wall of Lamentations, another Jewish holy site located below, police said while reporting arrests.
Escalation of violence
Over the past two weeks, clashes have left nearly 300 Palestinians injured in and around the esplanade of the Mosques. The violence comes in a context of escalation after a series of anti-Israeli attacks that left 15 dead, including an Israeli Arab policeman and two Ukrainians, since March 22.
Two of the attacks were perpetrated in the Tel Aviv area by Palestinians from the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
In the wake of these attacks, the Israeli army carried out several operations in the West Bank punctuated by deadly clashes. A total of 27 Palestinians and three Israeli Arabs were killed, including attackers.
Located in the old city of East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector of the Holy City occupied and annexed by Israel, the esplanade is administered by Jordan but its access is controlled by Israel.