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Israeli security forces deploy next to the Dome of the Rock mosque amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, on 7 May 2021. Picture: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP


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Israel police storm Al Aqsa, scores of Palestinians hurt

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Ramallah: At least 178 Palestinians and six police officers have been injured after Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and dispersed worshippers in East Jerusalem, reports Reuters news service.

Earlier, tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers packed into the mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan and many stayed on to protest in support of Palestinians facing eviction from their homes on Israeli-occupied land claimed by Jewish settlers.

During the past week, residents of Sheikh Jarrah, as well as Palestinian and international solidarity activists, have attended nightly vigils to support the Palestinian families under threat of forced displacement.

Israeli border police and forces attacked the sit-ins using skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades over the past few days, reports Al Jazeera. According to the report, dozens of Palestinians have been arrested.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the actions of Israeli border police and forces and held the Israeli government responsible as weeks-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over Jerusalem soared again.

"Israel is fully responsible for the repercussions of the dangerous developments, mainly the escalated Israeli assaults on our people in East Jerusalem," Abbas said in a televised speech aired on Palestine TV on Friday. He also said that Palestine will request from the UN Security Council to convene soon to discuss the situation in East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, according to an Al Jazeera report, the United Nations has urged Israel to call off any forced evictions in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to "war crimes".

"We call on Israel to immediately call off all forced evictions," UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville told Al Jazeera reporters in Geneva.

"We wish to emphasise that East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, in which international humanitarian law applies," Al Jazeera quoted Colville as saying

"The occupying power… cannot confiscate private property in occupied territory," he said, adding that transferring civilian populations into the occupied territory was illegal under international law and "may amount to war crimes."

The US State Department has also said it is "extremely concerned" about the violence in Jerusalem and called on Israeli and Palestinian officials "to act decisively" to deescalate tensions.

Ned Price, the department's spokesman said that the US is also "deeply concerned" about the potential eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, neighboring Jordan, which serves as the custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites, had earlier warned Israel against further provocative steps.

Sunday night is the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates its annexation of East Jerusalem and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city. On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions.

Iran was meanwhile marking its own Quds, or Jerusalem, Day on Friday. The national holiday typically features anti-Israel protests and fiery speeches by Iranian leaders predicting Israel's demise.

The downward and declining movement of the Zionist regime has begun and will not stop," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised address. He called for continuing armed resistance in the Palestinian territories and urged Muslim nations to support it.

This year, Ramadan has coincided with an uptick in Israeli-Palestinian violence focused on Jerusalem. Sheikh Jarrah is located in the Arab eastern part of Jerusalem, north of the Old City. The status of Jerusalem is one of the central disputes in the Middle East conflict.

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TAGS:Al Aqsa Israel Police Palestine Jerusalem 
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