Clashes between Palestinians and Israelis injured more than 20 people Sunday on and near the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, which had been the scene of violent clashes on Friday.

Early Sunday, “hundreds” of Palestinian protesters began to pile up “stones” on the esplanade shortly before the arrival of Jews who can visit this place, considered the holiest in Judaism, at specific times and under certain conditions. conditions, police said.

Israeli security forces entered the esplanade of the Mosques, called Temple Mount by the Jews, in order to “dislodge” these demonstrators and “restore order”, police said as witnesses and rescuers reported a dozen Palestinians injured in these clashes.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported 19 wounded Palestinians, five of whom were evacuated to local hospitals, noting that some of the wounded had been hit by rubber bullets.

The incidents come as Christian Easter festivities are held on Sunday, as well as prayers for Passover, Passover, and the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Old City of Jerusalem, the crossroads of the three monotheistic religions.

– Rocky coaches –

At the same time, near the Old City, located in the eastern part of Jerusalem occupied by Israel since 1967, young Palestinians threw stones at buses carrying Israeli civilians, including minors, according to the police.

Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital reported seven minor injuries from stone-throwing aimed at buses traveling near the Western Wall, the holiest place of prayer in Jewish tradition, while Israeli police reported 18 arrests.

“Al-Aqsa (name also given in Arabic to the esplanade of the Mosques, editor’s note) is ours, and ours alone, and the Jews have absolutely no right to it,” Ismaïl Haniyeh said in a press release. leader of the political wing of Hamas, the Palestinian armed Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip.

“Jerusalem is at the center of the conflict (Israelo-Palestinian, editor’s note), and we will continue to defend it in an open battle against the occupiers,” added Mr. Haniyeh, while Hussein el-Sheikh, a tenor of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, called on the international community to put an end to “the blatant aggression” against the esplanade of the Mosques.

In Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, mosques called on the faithful to come to the esplanade, according to AFP journalists. And in the Gaza Strip, more than a dozen rockets were fired Sunday morning towards the Mediterranean Sea, according to media close to Hamas.

On Friday morning, after weeks of tension linked to attacks by two Palestinians in the Tel Aviv region and Israeli “counter-terrorism” operations in the occupied West Bank, clashes broke out between the police and demonstrators on the esplanade of the Mosques, where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque are located.

The Israeli forces notably entered the Al-Aqsa mosque during these clashes which injured more than 150 Palestinians and aroused strong condemnation from Muslim countries.

Jordan, which administers the esplanade of the Mosques, blamed Israel for this new escalation of violence.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry “denounces the irruption of Israeli forces in the Al-Aqsa mosque and the expulsion of worshipers (Muslims) by force to allow the entry of extremists (Jews) under their protection”.

On Sunday, during the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing at the Vatican, Pope Francis pleaded for “free” access to holy places in Jerusalem. “May Israelis, Palestinians and all the inhabitants of the Holy City, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace”, said the sovereign pontiff.

The UN had called for a “de-escalation” in order to prevent tensions in Jerusalem from turning, as last year, into war between the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza, a territory under Israeli blockade located around 80km from Jerusalem, and Israel.

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