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April 18, 2022 1:02 pm
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Israel Downs Gaza Rocket, Admonishes Jordan as Jerusalem Tensions Simmer

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli border police force stand by as Palestinian protestors shoot fireworks towards them in an alley in Jerusalem’s Old City April 17, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israel shot down a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip on Monday, the Israeli military said, the first such attack in months as tensions in Jerusalem drew angry pro-Palestinian rhetoric from Jordan and US mediation efforts.

No Gaza faction claimed responsibility for the rocket, which Israel said its Iron Dome interceptor shot down. Hamas had warned of reprisals for Israeli conduct around Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque compound.

Since Friday, the site has seen confrontations between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli riot police recalling violence that helped fan a Gaza war one year ago.

The tensions complicate Israel‘s security ties with Jordan, which is custodian of Al Aqsa and has a Palestinian majority.

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Jordan’s King Abdullah told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Israel‘s Al Aqsa policy “seriously undermines” chances of it making peace with the Palestinians, Amman said. Jordan also summoned Israel‘s acting ambassador for a reprimand.

Escalating the rhetoric, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh told parliament: “I must laud … those throwing their stones at all of those Zionists who desecrate Al Aqsa mosque with the protection of the Israeli occupation government.”

Several passengers were injured when Israeli buses they were traveling on to Jerusalem’s Old City were stoned by Palestinians on Sunday, police said, adding that Al Aqsa protesters have been stockpiling rocks for attacks on Jewish visitors and police.

“I view with gravity the statements blaming Israel for the violence that we are being subjected to. Some are encouraging stone-throwing,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in video statement issued after al-Khasawneh televised remarks.

“This serves as a prize for the inciters, chiefmost Hamas, who are trying to ignite violence here in Jerusalem,” he said.

In Washington, the State Department said US officials engaged in phone calls with Israelis, Palestinians and Arab representatives over the weekend in an effort to prevent an escalation of the Jerusalem tensions.

This story has been updated

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