Tensions in Jerusalem rose after Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa
A family of 10 were killed early Saturday in an Israeli airstrike on the western Gaza Strip, medics in the Palestinian enclave said.
Eight children and two women, all belonging to the Abu Hatab family, were killed in the three-storey building in Shati refugee camp that collapsed following an Israeli strike, medical sources said.
Tensions in Jerusalem, which is considered a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians, have been running high since Israeli riot police attacked Palestinian worshippers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramazan in the city’s worst disturbances since 2017.
Nightly unrest since then at the Al-Aqsa compound has left hundreds of Palestinians wounded, drawn calls for de-escalation from the international community and sharp rebukes from across the Muslim world.
Adding to the sense of chaos, a huge fire engulfed trees in the compound that houses the mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Golden Dome on the Temple Mount sacred to Jews.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, earlier Monday warned Israel to withdraw all its forces from the mosque compound and the east Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah, where looming evictions of Palestinian families have fuelled angry protests.
Sirens wailed across Jerusalem just after the 1500 GMT deadline set by Hamas as people in Jerusalem, including lawmakers in the Knesset legislature, evacuated into bunkers, amid warnings over loudspeakers.
A spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing the Qassam Brigades said that “a volley of rockets was fired towards the enemy in occupied Jerusalem in response to its crimes and aggression on the holy city and repression of its residents in Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa mosque”.
“This is a message that the enemy must understand well: if you respond we will respond, and if you escalate we will escalate.”
The United States said it “condemns in the strongest terms the barrage of rocket attacks fired into Israel in recent hours. This is an unacceptable escalation.”
A house in Beit Nekofa, about 10 kilometres (six miles) west of central Jerusalem, was also damaged by rocket fire, AFP TV reported.
The Israeli army said on Twitter that, separate to the rockets, “as a result of an anti-tank missile fired from Gaza, an Israeli civilian in a nearby vehicle was lightly injured” in the Gaza border area.