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Israeli police evict Al-Aqsa worshipers for Jewish visitors | News from the Middle East

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Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at worshipers on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque as hundreds of Jewish pilgrims went there to celebrate a religious holiday.

The tensions and the Jewish pilgrimage on Sunday to the highly sensitive mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site also known to Jews as the Temple Mount, was condemned by the Palestinians.

Israel’s right-wing nationalist Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, supported the state’s decision to allow Jews to visit the site.

According to the Israeli police, Palestinian “young people started throwing stones on the esplanade of the Temple Mount in the early morning hours at the police, who dispersed them.”

There were no official reports of arrests or injuries.

The EU delegation to the Palestinian territories said in a tweet that it was “concerned about the ongoing tensions” and insisted there would be no “sedition”.

It also called for respect for the site’s status quo and urged Israeli, religious and community leaders to urgently “calm down this explosive situation.”

The incident took place on the Jewish festival of Tisha B’av, the day of the year, thousands of years ago when, according to tradition, both Jewish temples on the Temple Mount were destroyed.

The holy site is located in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied and annexed in 1967, but is administered by the Islamic Waqf organization that grants Jews limited access.

A spokesman for a Jewish group encouraging such visits told the AFP news agency that there were 1,679 pilgrims at the mosque complex Sunday morning and afternoon.

The Waqf condemned the “violations and attacks” carried out by “Jewish fanatic groups, with the support and political cover of the Israeli government,” it said in a statement from the official Palestinian website Wafa, which alleged that Israel was “seeking a religious war”. ”.

The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of “tampering with the security and stability of the region” by allowing the “raids” of pilgrims.

Newly sworn in Prime Minister Bennett, who comes from Israel’s religious right but heads a coalition including a leftist and a party of Palestinian citizens of Israel, said he “ordered the organized and safe visits of Jews to the Temple Mount continue, preserving order on the site”.

In a second statement following the convictions of the Waqf and the PA, Bennett emphasized that “freedom of worship on the Temple Mount will also be fully preserved for Muslims,” ​​pointing to the upcoming festival of Eid al-Adha.

Two years ago, when the Jewish and Muslim holidays coincided, violence at the site left dozens injured and seven arrested.

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