A 13-year-old Palestinian opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding two Israelis, officials said, a day after another attacker killed seven outside a synagogue in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008. The shooting in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, wounded a father and son, ages 47 and 23, paramedics said. Both were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital, the medics added. As police rushed to the scene, two passers-by with licensed weapons shot and overpowered the 13-year-old attacker, police said. Police confiscated his handgun and took the wounded teen to a hospital. Video showed police escorting a wounded teen, wearing nothing but underwear, away from the scene and onto a stretcher, his hands cuffed behind his back. Authorities taped off the street, emergency vehicles and security forces swarmed the area and helicopters whirled overhead. “He waited to ambush civilians on the holy Sabbath day,” Israeli police spokesman Dean Elsdunne told The Associated Press, adding that the teenager opened fire on a group of five civilians. Security footage showed the victims to be observant Jews, wearing skullcaps and tzitzit, or knotted ritual tassels. Saturday’s events — on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s arrival in the region — raised the possibility of even greater conflagration in one of the bloodiest months in Israel and the occupied West Bank in several years. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, in a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move not internationally recognized. The attacks pose pivotal test for Israel’s new far-right government. Its firebrand minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has presented himself as an enforcer of law and order and grabbed headlines for his promises to take even stronger action against the Palestinians. Speaking to reporters at a hospital where victims were being treated, Ben-Gvir said he wants homes of Palestinian attackers sealed off immediately as a punitive measure, lashing out at Israel’s attorney general for delaying his order. She “is not allowing us to seal the house. In my opinion this is awful. In my opinion, it can’t be like that,” he said of the top prosecutor. He also called for demolishing dozens of Palestinian homes that Israel says were illegally built in east Jerusalem, granting more gun licenses to Israelis, and applying the death penalty on Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis. Read more: Palestinian gunman kills seven people in Jerusalem synagogue Overhauling the justice system in the country, including the attorney general’s, has been on the top agenda of the new government, which says judges have overwhelming powers. The divisive issue helped fuel weekly protests by Israelis who say the sweeping proposed changes would weaken the Supreme Court and undermine democracy. The Israeli army said it had deployed another battalion to the West Bank on Saturday, adding hundreds more troops to a presence already on heightened alert in the occupied territory. In the Jenin refugee camp, the site of a deadly Israeli military raid on Thursday that fueled the latest escalation, footage showed Palestinians dancing and cheering in celebration of the shooting on Saturday. Palestinian detainees who celebrated in prison after Friday’s attack were placed in solitary confinement, the Israeli prison service said. Prime Minister Netanyahu said he would convene his Security Cabinet later, after the Sabbath, which ends at sundown, to discuss a further response to the attack near the synagogue. Security forces launched a crackdown in east Jerusalem, fanning out into the neighborhood of the 21-year-old Palestinian gunman, who was shot and killed at the scene. Police arrested 42 of his family members and neighbors for questioning in the At-Tur neighborhood. The Palestinian leadership, meanwhile, upheld its decision to halt security coordination with Israel that was taken Thursday following the deadly raid in Jenin. After a meeting headed by President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority called on international community and the U.S. administration to oblige Israel into stopping its raids and operations in the West Bank. Police Chief Kobi Shabtai permanently moved a force, similar to a S.W.A.T. team, in the city and beefed up forces, instructing police to work 12-hour shifts. He urged the public to call a hotline if they see anything suspicious. The earlier Friday attack came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine Palestinians in the flashpoint Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank that prompted a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. Although calm had appeared to take hold after the limited exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, tensions were running high in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Thursday’s raid, deadliest single incursion in the West Bank since 2002, followed a particularly bloody month that saw at least 30 Palestinians — militants and civilians — killed in in confrontations with Israelis in the West Bank, according to a tally by the AP. Last year, as the Israeli military intensified its arrest raids following a string of deadly Palestinian attacks within Israel, at least 150 Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. It was the highest annual death toll for more than a decade and a half. Thirty people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis last year. Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed. The Israeli military contends its raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks. But Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank, captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians demand east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, and much of the world considers it illegally occupied. Israel claims as its united, sovereign capital. Palestinians also say the building of Jewish settlements in those territories threatens the prospect of a viable, contiguous future state. Home to the shrines of all three major monotheistic religions, the contested capital been the centerpiece of spiking tensions between Israelis and Palestinians for years. Read more: Palestinian teen wounds 2, day after 7 killed in Jerusalem Both Palestinian attackers behind the shootings on Friday and Saturday came from east Jerusalem. Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem hold permanent residency status, allowing them to work and move freely throughout Israel, but they are not allowed to vote in national elections. Residency rights can be stripped if a Palestinian is found to live outside the city for an extended period or in certain security cases. Although their standard of living is generally better than in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian residents of the city receive a fraction of the services that Jewish residents do. They also complain of home demolitions and the near impossibility of obtaining Israeli building permits.
A Palestinian attacker in his early teens opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding two people, officials said, a day after another assailant killed seven outside a synagogue in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008. The shooting in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, wounded a father and son, ages 47 and 23, paramedics said. Both were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital, the medics added. Police said they shot and overpowered the 13-year-old attacker, wounding him. He was taken to a hospital, they said, and there was no further word on his condition. Video showed police escorting a wounded young man, wearing nothing but underwear, away from the scene and onto a stretcher. Authorities taped off the street and emergency vehicles and security forces swarmed the area as helicopters whirled overhead. Saturday's events — just a day before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to arrive in the region —raised the possibility of even greater conflagration in one of the bloodiest months in Israel and the occupied West Bank in several years. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, in a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move not internationally recognized. The attacks pose pivotal test for Israel’s new far-right government. Its firebrand minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has presented himself as an enforcer of law and order and grabbed headlines for his promises to take even stronger action against the Palestinians. The Israeli army said it had deployed another battalion to the West Bank on Saturday, adding hundreds more troops to a presence already on heightened alert in the occupied territory. Prime Minister Benjamin said he would convene his Security Cabinet on Saturday night, after the end of the sabbath, to discuss a further response to the attack near the synagogue. Security forces launched a crackdown early Saturday, fanning out into the neighborhood of the 21-year-old Palestinian gunman, who was shot and killed at the scene. Police arrested 42 of his family members and neighbors for questioning in the At-Tur neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Police Chief Kobi Shabtai moved a force analogous to a S.W.A.T. team in the city and beefed up forces, instructing police to work 12-hour shifts. He urged the public to call a hotline if they see anything suspicious. The earlier Friday attack, which occurred as residents were observing the Jewish sabbath, came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine Palestinians in the West Bank that prompted a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. Although calm had appeared to take hold after the limited exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, tensions were running high in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Thursday's raid, deadliest single incursion in the West Bank since 2002, followed a particularly bloody month that saw at least 30 Palestinians — militants and civilians — killed in in confrontations with Israelis in the West Bank, according to a tally by The Associated Press. Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed. Israel says its raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks. The Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank, captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians demand east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, and much of the world considers it illegally occupied. Israel claims as its united, sovereign capital. Home to archaeological ruins and shrines of all three major monotheistic religions, the contested capital been the centerpiece of spiking tensions between Israelis and Palestinians for years. Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem hold permanent residency status, allowing them to work and move freely throughout Israel, but they are not allowed to vote in national elections. Residency rights can be stripped if a Palestinian is found to live outside the city for an extended period or in certain security cases. Although their standard of living is generally better than in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem receive a fraction of the services that Jewish residents do. They complain of home demolitions and the near impossibility of obtaining Israeli building permits.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s incoming hard-line government put West Bank settlement expansion at the top of its list of priorities on Wednesday, a day before it’s set to be sworn into office. Netanyahu’s Likud party released the new government’s policy guidelines, the first of which is that it will “advance and develop settlement in all parts of the land of Israel — in the Galilee, Negev, Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria” — the Biblical names for the West Bank. The commitment could put the new government on a collision course with its closest allies, including the United States, which opposes settlement construction on occupied territories. Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians seek the West Bank as the heartland of a future independent state. In the decades since, Israel has constructed dozens of Jewish settlements there that are now home to around 500,000 Israelis living alongside around 2.5 million Palestinians. Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s new government — the most religious and hard-line in Israel’s history — is made up of ultra-Orthodox parties, an ultranationalist religious faction and his Likud party. It is to be sworn in on Thursday. Several of Netanyahu’s key allies, including most of the Religious Zionism party, are ultranationalist West Bank settlers. Also Read: Israel says it deported Palestinian activist to France On Wednesday, incoming finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal that there would be no “changing the political or legal status” of the West Bank, running contrary to years of advocating annexation of the entire territory. He leveled criticism at the “feckless military government” that manages civilian affairs for Israeli settlers, including himself. Smotrich is set to assume control over the military government in the occupied West Bank under his second role — a newly created position as a minister in the Defense Ministry. Netanyahu is returning to power after he was ousted from office last year after serving as prime minister from 2009 to 2021. He will take office while on trial for allegedly accepting bribes, breach of trust and fraud, charges he denies. Netanyahu’s partners are seeking widespread policy reforms that could alienate large swaths of the Israeli public, raise tensions with the Palestinians, and put the country on a collision course with the United States and American Jewry. The Biden administration has said it strongly opposes settlement expansion and has rebuked the Israeli government for it in the past. Earlier on Wednesday, Israel’s figurehead president expressed “deep concern” about the incoming government and its positions on LGBTQ rights, racism and the country’s Arab minority in a rare meeting called with Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of the coalition’s most radical members. President Isaac Herzog met with Ben-Gvir, head of the Jewish Power faction and heir to the outlawed politician Meir Kahane, after members of his party called for the legalization of discrimination against LGBTQ people based on religious belief. Herzog’s office said the president urged Ben-Gvir to “calm the stormy winds and to be attentive to and internalize the criticism” about the incoming government’s stance on LGBTQ issues, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and a bill to remove a ban on politicians supporting racism and terrorism from serving in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The government platform also mentioned that the loosely defined rules governing holy sites, including Jerusalem’s flashpoint shrine known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, would remain the same. Ben-Gvir and other Religious Zionism politicians had called for the “status quo” to be changed to allow Jewish prayer at the site, a move that risked inflaming tensions with the Palestinians. The status of the site is the emotional epicenter of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Two blasts went off near bus stops in Jerusalem at the height of morning rush hour on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring at least 18, in what police said were suspected attacks by Palestinians. The first explosion occurred near a typically crowded bus stop on the edge of the city. The second went off about half an hour later in Ramot, a settlement in the city's north. Police said one person died from their wounds and at least three were seriously wounded in the blasts. Israeli media said the person killed was a 16-year-old Jewish seminary student. Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have been surging for months, amid nightly Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank prompted by a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis that killed 19 people in the spring. There has been an uptick in recent weeks in Palestinian attacks. The violence occurred hours after Palestinian militants stormed a West Bank hospital and carried out an Israeli citizen seeking treatment there after a car accident, according to the young man's father. That incident could further ratchet up tensions. The developments took place as former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is holding coalition talks after national elections and is likely to return to power as head of what's expected to be Israel's most right-wing government ever. Itamar Ben-Gvir, an extremist lawmaker who has called for the death penalty for Palestinian attackers and who is set to become the minister in charge of police under Netanyahu, said the attack meant Israel needed to take a tougher stance on Palestinian violence. Read more: 4 Palestinians killed in flare-up as Israel counts votes “We must exact a price from terror,” he said at the scene of the first explosion. “We must return to be in control of Israel, to restore deterrence against terror.” Police, who were searching for the suspected attackers, said their initial findings showed that shrapnel-laden explosive devices were placed at the two sites. The twin blasts occurred amid the buzz of rush hour traffic and police briefly closed part of a main highway leading out of the city, where the fist explosion went off. Video from shortly after the first blast showed debris strewn along the sidewalk as the wail of ambulances blared. A bus in Ramot was pocked with what looked like shrapnel marks. “It was a crazy explosion. There is damage everywhere here,” Yosef Haim Gabay, a medic who was at the scene when the first blast occurred, told Israeli Army Radio. “I saw people with wounds bleeding all over the place.” While Palestinians have carried out stabbings, car rammings and shootings in recent years, bombing attacks have become very rare since the end of a Palestinian uprising nearly two decades ago. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem condemned the violence, as did EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev. The Islamic militant Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and once carried out suicide bombings against Israelis, praised the perpetrators of the attacks, calling it a heroic operation, but stopped short of claiming responsibility. "The occupation is reaping the price of its crimes and aggression against our people,” Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said. Israel said that in response to the blasts, it was closing two West Bank crossings to Palestinians near the West Bank city of Jenin, a militant stronghold. In Jenin late Tuesday, militants entered a hospital and removed the Israeli teen wounded in a car accident. The young man, 17, was from Israel's Druze minority. His father, who was in the hospital room with him, said the militants disconnected him from hospital equipment and took him while still alive. The Israeli military said the young man was already dead when he was taken. “It was something horrendous. It was something that was inhumane," Husam Ferro, the teen's father, told Israeli news site YNet. “He was still alive and they took him in front of my eyes and I couldn’t do anything.” A Druze community leader told YNet talks were underway on the body's release. Palestinian militants have in the past carried out kidnappings to seek concessions from Israel. Read more: Israel strikes Gaza home of Hamas leader, AP office Palestinian officials either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2006. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed have been militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the military incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed. At least eight Israelis have been killed in the most recent wave of Palestinian attacks. The Israeli military said Wednesday that Palestinian gunmen opened fire on forces escorting worshippers to a flashpoint shrine in the West Bank city of Nablus overnight. The troops fired back and the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 16-year-old was killed in the incident. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians seek the territories for their hoped-for independent state.
Israeli forces killed at least four Palestinians in separate incidents on Thursday, including one who had stabbed a police officer in east Jerusalem and three others in Israeli raids in the occupied West Bank. Early Friday, Israeli aircraft struck several targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire Thursday evening from the Palestinian enclave. The rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes were the first cross-border violence since a cease-fire ended a round of fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group there in August. The violence flared as Israel completed the counting of votes in national elections held this week, with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right allies capturing a comfortable majority of seats in Israel's parliament. In the West Bank, Israeli troops operating in the Jenin refugee camp, a militant stronghold, killed at least two Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said one of those killed was a local commander. Residents said he was killed while at the butcher, where he was buying meat ahead of his wedding this weekend. Read more: ‘Free Palestine’: Protesters in major US cities decry airstrikes over Gaza The army said Farouk Salameh was wanted in a number of shooting attacks on Israeli security forces, including the killing of a police officer last May. It said that a firefight ensued, Salameh fled and then drew a gun at soldiers who shot and killed him. Late Thursday, Gaza militants fired a rocket into southern Israel, setting off air-raid sirens in the area. The army said the rocket was intercepted, and that three other launch attempts failed and exploded inside Gaza. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but in the past, Islamic Jihad has fired rockets in response to the killings of its members. In response, the Israeli military said it targeted an underground site used by Gaza's Hamas rulers as a rocket-making facility. The airstrikes “will significantly impede” Hamas' rocket capabilities, it said. It also blamed the militant group for attacks emanating from Gaza. There were no reports of casualties. Earlier Thursday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank. Israeli police said it happened during a raid in the territory and alleged the man threw a firebomb at the forces. In a separate incident Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed a police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City, police said, and officers opened fire on the attacker, killing him. The officer was lightly wounded. The violence came as a political shift is underway in Israel after national elections, with Netanyahu set to return to power in a coalition government made up of far-right allies, including the extremist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who in response to the incidents said Israel would soon take a tougher approach to attackers. “The time has come to restore security to the streets,” he tweeted. “The time has come for a terrorist who goes out to carry out an attack to be taken out!” Read more: Israel-Palestine conflict: China calls for UN council action, slams US Israel-Palestine conflict: China calls for UN council action, slams US The violence was the latest in a wave of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that has killed more than 130 Palestinians this year, making 2022 the deadliest since the U.N. started tracking fatalities in 2005. The violence intensified in the spring, after a wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis killed 19 people, prompting Israel to launch a months-long operation in the West Bank it says is meant to dismantle militant networks. The raids have been met in recent weeks by a rise in attacks against Israelis, killing at least three. Israel says most of those killed have been militants. But youths protesting the incursions and people uninvolved in the fighting have also been killed. Also on Thursday, Israel said it was removing checkpoints in and out of the city of Nablus. Israel had imposed the restrictions weeks ago, clamping down on the city in response to a new militant group known as the Lions' Den. The military has conducted repeated operations in the city in recent weeks, killing or arresting the group's top commanders. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and has since maintained a military occupation over the territory and settled more than 500,000 people there. The Palestinians want the territory, along with the West Bank and east Jerusalem, for their hoped-for independent state.
A gunman opened fire at a bus near Jerusalem’s Old City early Sunday, wounding eight Israelis in a suspected Palestinian attack that came a week after violence flared up between Israel and militants in Gaza, police and medics said. Two of the victims were in serious condition, including a pregnant woman with abdominal injuries and a man with gunshot wounds to the head and neck, according to Israeli hospitals treating them. The shooting occurred as the bus waited in a parking lot near the Western Wall, which is considered the holiest site where Jews can pray. Israeli police said forces were dispatched to the scene to investigate. Israeli security forces also pushed into the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan pursuing the suspected attacker. The attack in Jerusalem followed a tense week between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Read:Death toll from weekend Israel-Gaza fighting rises to 47 Last weekend, Israeli aircraft unleashed an offensive in the Gaza Strip targeting the militant group Islamic Jihad and setting off three days of fierce cross-border fighting. Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets during the flare-up to avenge the airstrikes, which killed two of its commanders and other militants. Israel said the attack was meant to thwart threats from the group to respond to the arrest of one of its officials in the occupied West Bank. Forty-nine Palestinians, including 17 children and 14 militants, were killed, and several hundred were injured in the fighting, which ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire. No Israeli was killed or seriously injured. The Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, stayed on the sidelines. A day after the cease-fire halted the worst round of Gaza fighting in more than a year, Israeli troops killed three Palestinian militants and wounded dozens in a shootout that erupted during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Thousands of Israeli nationalists, some of them chanting “Death to Arabs,” paraded through the heart of the main Palestinian thoroughfare in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, in a show of force that risked setting off a new wave of violence in the tense city. The crowds, who were overwhelmingly young Orthodox Jewish men, were celebrating Jerusalem Day -- an Israeli holiday that marks the capture of the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians see the event, which passes through the heart of the Muslim Quarter, as a provocation. Last year, the parade helped trigger an 11-day war with Gaza militants, and this year's march drew condemnations from the Palestinians and neighboring Jordan. Also read: Palestinians: Israel deliberately killed Al Jazeera reporter Israel said it deployed thousands of police and security forces for the event, and violent scuffles between Jewish and Palestinian groups erupted inside the Old City before the parade began. As the march got underway, groups of Orthodox Jewish youths gathered outside Damascus Gate, waving flags, singing religious and nationalistic songs, and shouting “the Jewish nation lives” before entering the Muslim Quarter. One large group chanted “Death to Arabs,” and “Let your village burn down” before descending into the Old City. Police cleared Palestinians out of the area, which is normally a bustling Palestinian thoroughfare. At one point, a drone flying a Palestinian flag flew overhead before police intercepted it. Ahead of the march, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that “flying the flag of Israel in the capital of Israel is an obvious thing,” but also urged participants to celebrate in a “responsible and respectful manner.” Bennett later issued a statement instructing police to show “no tolerance” toward the racist groups. He described them as a “minority that came to set the area on fire” and vowed to prosecute violent extremists — a step that few Israeli governments have taken in the past. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the racist groups “a disgrace.” Thousands of people normally take part in the march through the Muslim Quarter, including some who shout out nationalistic or racist slogans toward the Palestinians, before making their way to the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter on the other side of the Old City. Last year, after weeks of Israeli-Palestinian unrest in Jerusalem, authorities changed the route of the march at the last minute to avoid the Muslim Quarter. But it was too late by then, and Hamas militants in Gaza fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem as the procession was getting underway. That set off 11 days of heavy fighting. Sunday’s march came at a time of heightened tensions. Israeli police have repeatedly confronted stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators in the disputed compound in recent months, often firing rubber bullets and stun grenades. At the same time, some 19 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian attackers in Israel and the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, while over 35 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank. Some were armed, while others were shot while allegedly throwing stones or firebombs at troops. But several appear appear to have been uninvolved in any violence, including Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known correspondent for the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Jerusalem police were criticized internationally for beating mourners at Abu Akleh’s funeral two weeks ago. Despite the recent unrest, Israeli leaders decided to allow this year's parade to take place along its traditional route through the Muslim Quarter. Ahead the march, there were small scuffles between Israeli nationalists and Palestinians, who threw chairs and bottles and shouted “God is great” at the marchers. Some marchers sprayed pepper spray at Palestinians and journalists. In one video shared on social media, a young Jewish man kicked and sprayed an older Palestinian woman in the face, sending her crumbling to the ground. Police also fired rubber-tipped bullets and used clubs and pepper spray to disperse Palestinian protesters from the area. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 62 people were injured, including 23 who needed hospitalization. Israeli police said they arrested over 50 suspects suspected of disorderly conduct or assaulting police officers. It said five officers were injured. Also read: Israel busts Hamas group for terrorist attack schemes Ahead of the march, over 2,500 Jews visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site inside the Old City, as Palestinians barricaded inside the Al Aqsa Mosque threw rocks and fireworks. Al Aqsa is situated on a hilltop compound revered by Muslims and Jews. The mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam, and the Palestinians are fiercely protective over what they consider to be a potent symbol of their national aspirations. The compound also is the holiest site for Jews, who call it the Temple Mount and revere it as the home of the biblical Temples. The competing claims to the site lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have triggered numerous rounds of violence. Police also said one of the Jewish groups “violated visitation rules” and was removed. Israeli media said the group had unfurled Israeli flags in the compound. Under longstanding arrangements known as the “status quo,” Jews are allowed to visit the compound but not pray. In recent years, however, the number of Jewish visitors has grown significantly, including some who have been spotted quietly praying. Such scenes have sparked Palestinian fears that Israel is plotting to take over or divide the area. Israel denies such claims, saying it remains committed to the status quo. Among the visitors was Itamar Ben-Gvir, leader of a small ultranationalist opposition party and a follower of the late racist rabbi, Meir Kahane, who entered with dozens of supporters under heavy police guard. Palestinians shouted “God is great” as Ben-Gvir, accompanied by Israeli police, shouted “the Jewish people live.” Police said they locked the gates of the mosque and said they made 18 arrests. Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of “playing with fire irresponsibily and recklessly.” Jordan condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit to the site and warned that the “provocative and escalating march” could make things deteriorate further. Jordan controlled east Jerusalem until Israel captured it in 1967 and it remains the custodian over Muslim holy sites. Israel captured east Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel has annexed east Jerusalem in a move that isn’t internationally recognized and claims all of the city as its capital. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Gaza’s Hamas rulers praised what they called “the great heroism” shown by Palestinians at Al Aqsa earlier Sunday. “The Islamic Palestinian Arab identity of the Al Aqsa Mosque will be protected by our people and their valiant resistance with all their might,” said Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the group. The group, however, may be wary of getting involved in another round of fighting. Gaza was hard hit in last year’s war, and the territory is still struggling to repair the damage. In addition, some 12,000 Gazan laborers are now permitted to work inside Israel as part of efforts to maintain calm between the enemies. Renewed fighting could risk losing those jobs, which have given a small boost to Gaza’s devastated economy.
Thousands of mourners, some hoisting Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine,” on Friday attended the funeral in Jerusalem for an Al Jazeera journalist who witnesses say was shot and killed by Israeli forces earlier this week while covering a military raid in the occupied West Bank. Dozens of people tried to march with the casket on foot out of a hospital near the Old City. Israeli police moved in and began beating them with batons, causing the pallbearers to briefly drop the casket on the ground. It was a rare mass show of Palestinian nationalism in east Jerusalem — the contested part of the holy city that Israel captured in 1967 and which the Palestinians claim as their capital. Israel says east Jerusalem is part of its capital and has annexed the area in a move that is not internationally recognized. “We die for Palestine to live,” the crowd chanted. “Our beloved home.” Later, they sang the Palestinian national anthem. Meanwhile, the Israeli military said its initial investigation into Shiren Abu Akleh’s death showed that a heavy firefight was underway around 200 meters (yards) from where she was killed, but that it was unable to determine whether she was shot by Israeli forces or Palestinian militants. Recent days have seen an outpouring of grief from across the Palestinian territories and the wider Arab world. Abu Akleh was a widely respected on-air correspondent who spent a quarter century covering the harsh realities of life under Israeli military rule, which is well into its sixth decade with no end in sight. READ: Bangladesh media condemn Al Jazeera journalist Shireen’s killing After the heated scene outside the hospital, police allowed the family to drive the casket to a Catholic church in the Old City, which was packed with mourners, before sealing off the hospital and firing tear gas at scores of protesters inside. After the service, thousands headed to the cemetery, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine, Palestine.” Police said the crowd at the hospital was chanting “nationalist incitement,” ignored calls to stop and threw stones at police. “The policemen were forced to act,” police said. Qatar-based Al Jazeera had earlier said that its managing director, Ahmad Alyafei, would travel to Jerusalem to attend the funeral. Israel has called for a joint investigation with the Palestinian Authority and for it to hand over the bullet for forensic analysis to determine who fired the fatal round. The PA has refused, saying it will conduct its own investigation and send the results to the International Criminal Court, which is already investigating possible Israeli war crimes. In a statement issued Friday, the military said Palestinian gunmen recklessly fired hundreds of rounds at an Israeli military vehicle, some in the direction of where Abu Akleh was standing. It said Israeli forces returned fire, and that without doing ballistic analysis it cannot determine who was responsible for her death. “The conclusion of the interim investigation is that it is not possible to determine the source of the fire that hit and killed the reporter,” the military said. Reporters who were with Abu Akleh, including one who was shot and wounded, said there were no clashes or militants in the immediate area when she was killed early Wednesday. All of them were wearing protective equipment that clearly identified them as reporters. Read: Slain Al Jazeera journalist was icon of Palestinian coverage Either side is likely to cast doubt on any conclusions reached by the other, and there did not appear to be any possibility of a third party carrying out an independent probe. The PA and Al Jazeera accused Israel of deliberately killing Abu Akleh within hours of her death. Israel says a full investigation is needed before any conclusions can be drawn. Rights groups say Israel rarely follows through on investigations into the killing of Palestinians by its security forces and hands down lenient punishments on the rare occasions when it does. This case, however, is drawing heavy scrutiny because Abu Akleh was a well-known figure and also an American citizen. Abu Akleh, 51, had joined Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language service in 1997 and rose to prominence covering the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising against Israeli rule, in the early 2000s. She was shot in the head early Wednesday while covering an Israeli arrest raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. Palestinians from in and around Jenin have carried out a series of deadly attacks inside Israel in recent weeks, and Israel has launched near daily arrest raids in the area, often igniting gunbattles with militants. Israeli troops pushed into Jenin again early Friday. An Associated Press photographer heard heavy gunfire and explosions, and said Israeli troops had surrounded a home. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 13 Palestinians were hospitalized after being wounded in the fighting, including one who was shot in the stomach. The Israeli military tweeted that Palestinians opened fire when its forces went in to arrest suspected militants. Police said a member of a special Israeli commando unit was also wounded. Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem — including the Old City and its holy sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims — in the 1967 war. The Palestinians want both territories as part of their future state. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital. Police went to Abu Akleh’s family home in Jerusalem the day she was killed and have shown up at other mourning events in the city to remove Palestinian flags. Tensions are running high ahead of the funeral.
Israeli police in full riot gear stormed a sensitive Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims on Friday after Palestinian youths hurled stones at a gate where they were stationed. The renewed violence at the site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, came despite Israel temporarily halting Jewish visits, which are seen by the Palestinians as a provocation. Medics said more than two dozen Palestinians were wounded before the clashes subsided hours later. Palestinians and Israeli police have regularly clashed at the site over the last week at a time of heightened tensions following a string of deadly attacks inside Israel and arrest raids in the occupied West Bank. Three rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Islamic militant group Hamas. The string of events has raised fears of a repeat of last year, when protests and violence in Jerusalem eventually boiled over, helping to ignite an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, and communal violence in Israel’s mixed cities. Palestinian youths hurled stones toward police at a gate leading into the compound, according to two Palestinian witnesses who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns. The police, in full riot gear, then entered the compound, firing rubber bullets and stun grenades. Also Read: Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site Israeli police said the Palestinians, some carrying Hamas flags, had begun stockpiling stones and erecting crude fortifications before dawn. The police said that after the rock-throwing began, they waited until after early morning prayers had finished before entering the compound. Some older Palestinians urged the youths to stop throwing rocks but were ignored, as dozens of young masked men hurled stones and fireworks at the police. A tree caught fire near the gate where the clashes began. Police said it was ignited by fireworks thrown by the Palestinians. The violence subsided later in the morning after another group of dozens of Palestinians said they wanted to clean the area ahead of the main weekly prayers midday, which are regularly attended by tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers. The police withdrew to the gate and the stone-throwing stopped. The Palestinian Red Crescent medical service said at least 31 Palestinians were wounded, including 14 who were taken to hospitals. A policewoman was hit in the face by a rock and taken for medical treatment, the police said. The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City is the third holiest site in Islam. The sprawling esplanade on which it is built is the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of two Jewish temples in antiquity. It lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and clashes there have often ignited violence elsewhere. Also Read: Israel, Gaza militants trade fire as Mideast tensions mount Palestinians and neighboring Jordan, the custodian of the site, accuse Israel of violating longstanding arrangements by allowing increasingly large numbers of Jews to visit the site under police escort. A longstanding prohibition on Jews praying at the site has eroded in recent years, fueling fears among Palestinians that Israel plans to take over the site or partition it. Israel says it remains committed to the status quo and blames the violence on incitement by Hamas. It says its security forces are acting to remove rock-throwers in order to ensure freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims. Visits by Jewish groups were halted beginning Friday for the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as they have been in the past. This year, Ramadan coincided with the week-long Jewish Passover and major Christian holidays, with tens of thousands of people from all three faiths flocking to the Old City after the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions. The Old City is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and considers the entire city its capital. The Palestinians seek an independent state in all three territories and view east Jerusalem as their capital.
Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel for the first time in months on Monday, in another escalation after clashes at a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, a series of deadly attacks inside Israel and military raids across the occupied West Bank. Israel said it intercepted the rocket, and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Israel holds Gaza's militant Hamas rulers responsible for all such projectiles and usually launches airstrikes in their wake. It was the first such rocket fire since New Year's Eve. Early Tuesday, Israeli fighter jets carried out a series of airstrikes in southern Gaza Strip, targeting a “weapons manufacturing site" for Hamas, the Israeli military said. There were no reports of injuries. Hours earlier, the leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group, which boasts an arsenal of rockets, had issued a brief, cryptic warning, condemning Israeli “violations” in Jerusalem. Ziad al-Nakhala, who is based outside the Palestinian territories, said threats to tighten an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza imposed after Hamas seized power 15 years ago “can’t silence us from what’s happening in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.” Also Read: Palestinian killed, 31 injured by Israeli soldiers in WB However, no Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. Palestinians and Israeli police clashed over the weekend in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, which has long been an epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian violence. It is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because the mosque stands on a hilltop where the Jewish temples were located in antiquity. Protests and clashes there this time last year helped trigger an 11-day Gaza war. Police said they were responding to Palestinian stone-throwing and that they were committed to ensuring that Jews, Christians and Muslims — whose major holidays are converging this year — could celebrate them safely in the Holy Land. Palestinians view the presence of Israeli police at the site as a provocation and said they used excessive force. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday, ahead of the rocket fire, that Israel has been the target of a “Hamas-led incitement campaign." The latest tensions come during the rare confluence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover. Christians are also celebrating their holy week leading up to Easter. Tens of thousands of visitors have flocked to Jerusalem’s Old City — home to major holy sites for all three faiths — for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Jordan and Egypt, which made peace with Israel decades ago and coordinate with it on security matters, have condemned its actions at the mosque. Jordan — which serves as custodian of the site — summoned Israel’s charge d’affaires on Monday in protest. Jordan’s King Abdullah II discussed the violence with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, agreeing on “the need to stop all illegal and provocative Israeli measures” there, according to a statement. Jordan planned to convene a meeting of other Arab states on the issue. Israel has been working to improve relations with Jordan over the past year and has recently normalized relations with other Arab states. But the latest tensions have brought renewed attention to the unresolved conflict with the Palestinians, which Israel has sought to sideline in recent years. The U.S. State Department urged all sides to “exercise restraint, to avoid provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo” at the holy site. Spokesman Ned Price said U.S. officials were in touch with counterparts across the region to try and calm tensions. U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed-door meeting on the tensions for Tuesday. In Israel, an Arab party that made history last year by joining the governing coalition suspended its participation on Sunday — a largely symbolic act that nevertheless reflected the sensitivity of the holy site, which is at the emotional heart of the century-old conflict. Israel captured the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — which includes the Old City — in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future independent state. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and is building and expanding Jewish settlements across the West Bank, which it views as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people. The last serious and substantive peace talks collapsed more than a decade ago. The Palestinians have long feared that Israel plans to take over or partition the mosque compound. In recent weeks, calls by Jewish extremists to sacrifice animals there have circulated widely among Palestinians on social media, sparking calls to defend the mosque. Also Read: Hamas, Fatah reject Israeli threats to storm Palestinian cities in northern West Bank Israeli authorities say they have no intention of changing the status quo, and police are enforcing a prohibition on animal sacrifices. Israel allows Jews to visit the site but not to pray there. In recent years large numbers of nationalist and religious Jews have regularly visited under police escort, angering the Palestinians and Jordan. Israel says police were forced to enter the compound early Friday after Palestinians stockpiled stones and hurled rocks at the gate through which Jewish visitors typically enter. That gate also leads to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray. Recent weeks have seen a series of Palestinian attacks inside Israel that killed 14 people. Israel has launched near-daily arrest raids and other military operations in the occupied West Bank that it says are aimed at preventing more. The military said Monday it arrested 11 Palestinians in operations across the territory overnight. In a raid near the city of Jenin, the army said dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and explosives toward troops. Soldiers “responded with live ammunition toward the suspects who hurled explosive devices,” the military said. The Palestinian Health Ministry said two men were hospitalized after being critically wounded. Two of the recent attackers came from in and around Jenin, which has long been a bastion of armed struggle against Israeli rule. At least 26 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in recent weeks, according to an Associated Press count. Many had carried out attacks or were involved in clashes, but an unarmed woman and a lawyer who appears to have been a bystander were also among those killed.