Wednesday, May 25th | 24 Iyyar 5782

April 20, 2022 11:32 am

Palestinian Rioters ‘Desecrating’ Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli Government Alleges Amid Ongoing Tensions in Jerusalem

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A fire burns in a window of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Photo: Screenshot

As tensions continued to escalate in eastern Jerusalem on Wednesday, the Israeli foreign ministry spotlighted a new round of rioting by Palestinians that resulted in damage to the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

Video released by the ministry showed a fire blazing in one of the windows of the mosque — the third-holiest site for the Islamic faith — as well as burning debris on the ground. According to the ministry, the fires resulted from the throwing of Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces.

“This morning a small number of violent rioters again desecrated Al-Aqsa Mosque, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails from inside the mosque,” the Israeli foreign ministry said on Twitter. “The violence endangers worshipers attempting to enter the mosque, and impeded police efforts to ensure freedom of worship at the site.”

The Molotov cocktails had set a prayer mat and a window ablaze, “causing fires that luckily were extinguished before greater damage was done,” the ministry said. It added that earlier this week, rioters had been filmed “throwing stones, setting off firecrackers and even playing soccer inside the mosque.”

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Attention shifted on Wednesday afternoon to a march through the Old City of Jerusalem by Jewish nationalists from the Damascus Gate — the entrance to the Arab quarter — to the Western Wall.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a radio interview that Jerusalem was in the midst of  “a very sensitive and flammable period.” He defended his decision to prevent Jews from accessing the Temple Mount during the last 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, pointing out that the policy had been introduced by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Separately, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid excoriated the nationalist march, accusing participants of wanting “for there to be violence and for fire to burn Jerusalem, and we will not allow them and their politics to burn Jerusalem.”

Policing the march was “horribly straining our security forces, who are already stretched to their limit,” Lapid added.

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