December 9, 2023

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli warplanes and artillery struck targets in Syria following uncommon rocket hearth from the northeastern neighbor, as Jewish-Muslim tensions reached a peak Sunday at a risky Jerusalem shrine with simultaneous non secular rituals.

Hundreds of Jewish worshippers gathered on the metropolis’s Western Wall, the holiest place the place Jews can pray, for a mass priestly benediction prayer service for the Passover vacation. On the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a walled esplanade above the Western Wall, lots of of Palestinians carried out prayers as a part of observances in the course of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A whole bunch of Jews additionally visited the Al-Aqsa compound underneath heavy police guard Sunday, to whistles and non secular chants from Palestinians protesting their presence. By sunset, the observances had handed with out severe incident.

Such excursions by non secular and nationalist Jews have elevated in dimension and frequency over time, and are considered with suspicion by many Palestinians who concern that Israel plans sooner or later to take over the location or partition it. Israeli officers say they don’t have any intention of fixing long-standing preparations that enable Jews to go to, however not pray within the Muslim-administered website.

Nonetheless, the nation is now ruled by essentially the most right-wing authorities in its historical past, with ultra-nationalists who search adjustments within the preparations in senior positions.

Senior right-wing politicians, together with West Financial institution settler leaders, introduced plans for a march by the northern West Financial institution on Monday, setting the stage for additional tensions.

Tensions have soared prior to now week on the flashpoint shrine after an Israeli police raid on the mosque. On a number of events, Palestinians have barricaded themselves contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque with stones and firecrackers, demanding the best to wish there in a single day, one thing Israel has prior to now solely allowed over the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Police eliminated them by pressure, detaining lots of and leaving dozens injured.

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The violence on the shrine triggered rocket hearth by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, beginning Wednesday, and Israeli airstrikes focused each areas.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah’s media workplace introduced that the militant group’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah, acquired a delegation headed by Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday. The 2 mentioned “crucial developments in occupied Palestine, the course of occasions at al-Aqsa Mosque, and the escalating resistance within the West Financial institution and Gaza, along with common political developments within the area, the readiness of the resistance axis and the cooperation of its events,” the assertion mentioned.

Haniyeh, who arrived in Lebanon final week shortly earlier than rockets have been launched at Israel from south Lebanon, had been scheduled to make a public look in Beirut on Friday. Nevertheless it was canceled for safety causes following the trade of strikes between Lebanon and Israel. No group has formally claimed duty for the rocket assaults, however Israel has accused Hamas of being behind them.

Late on Saturday and early Sunday, militants in Syria fired rockets in two salvos towards Israel and the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. A Damascus-based Palestinian group loyal to the Syrian authorities claimed duty for the primary spherical of rockets, saying it was retaliating for the Al-Aqsa raids.

Within the first salvo, one rocket landed in a area within the Golan Heights. Fragments of one other destroyed missile fell into Jordanian territory close to the Syrian border, Jordan’s army reported. Within the second spherical, two of the rockets crossed the border into Israel, with one being intercepted and the second touchdown in an open space, the Israeli army mentioned.

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Israel responded with artillery hearth into the world in Syria from the place the rockets have been fired. Later, the army mentioned Israeli fighter jets attacked Syrian military websites, together with a compound of Syria’s 4th Division and radar and artillery posts.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned the violence in a phone name with Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog late Saturday, telling Herzog that Muslims couldn’t stay silent concerning the “provocations and threats” in opposition to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and mentioned the hostilities which have unfold to Gaza and Lebanon shouldn’t be allowed to escalate additional.

Along with the cross-border combating, three folks have been killed over the weekend in Palestinian assaults in Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution.

A whole bunch of individuals, together with Nationwide Safety Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, attended the funeral for 2 British-Israeli sisters, Maia Dee, 20, and Rina Dee, 15, who have been killed in a capturing Friday within the West Financial institution.

They have been buried following an emotional ceremony within the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion within the West Financial institution. As the 2 our bodies have been introduced into the room, considered one of their sisters threw herself down and hugged the lined our bodies. Their mom, who was additionally shot within the assault, stays hospitalized in essential situation.

“Could we and nobody else in the entire world ever know a lot sorrow. Amen,” mentioned their father, Lee Dee.

An Italian vacationer, Alessandro Parini, 35, a lawyer from Rome, had simply arrived within the metropolis a number of hours earlier with some mates for a short Easter vacation. He was killed Friday in a suspected car-ramming on Tel Aviv’s beachside promenade.

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Over 90 Palestinians and have been killed by Israeli hearth to date this 12 months, not less than half of them affiliated with militant teams, in accordance with a tally by The Related Press. Palestinian assaults on Israelis have killed 19 folks in that point. All however one have been civilians.


Related Press writers Suzan Frazer in Ankara, Turkey; Abby Sewell in Beirut and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.