Clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police erupted Friday morning on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem, leaving a hundred injured.
“90 wounded were transferred” to hospitals in Jerusalem and “tens” were treated at the site, a Palestinian Red Crescent official told AFP. For its part, the Israeli police reported at least three wounded in its ranks.
Witnesses reported Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli security forces and firing rubber bullets at some Palestinian demonstrators.
The Israeli police indicated that around 4 a.m., “dozens of young masked rioters”, some displaying themselves with flags of the armed Islamist movement Hamas, “started a procession” on the Esplanade des Mosques, and hurled stones at the adjacent Western Wall, the most important place of prayer in Jewish tradition. The authorities thus explain that they intervened to “restore order”.
Third holiest site in Islam, the Esplanade of the Mosques, also called Temple Mount by the Jews, is located in the Old City in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector occupied since 1967 by Israel which remains the scene of clashes between police Israelis and Palestinian protesters.
A turbulent Ramadan
During the month of Ramadan in 2021, nocturnal demonstrations in Jerusalem and clashes even on the esplanade had turned into eleven days of war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, and Israel.
Jordan administers the Esplanade of the Mosques, where the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located, but access to this place is controlled by Israel.
Shortly before the start of the month of Ramadan (April 2) this year, Israeli and Jordanian officials stepped up talks to avoid further clashes.
This violence in the heart of Jerusalem comes after a series of attacks in Israel and Israeli operations in the West Bank, another territory occupied since 1967 by the Jewish state.
Since March 22, Israel has been hit by four attacks, the first two carried out by Israeli Arabs linked to Daesh and the last two by Palestinians from the Jenin area in the West Bank.
These attacks killed fourteen people. In addition, 21 Palestinians, including assailants, have been killed in violence since that date, according to an AFP tally.