More than 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

Credits Ammar Awad – Reuters

Credits Ammar Awad – Reuters

Video from the scene showed pitched battles, with Palestinians throwing chairs, shoes, rocks and bottles and police responding with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.

According to Israeli police, six officers were injured during the altercations in Jerusalem.

The second straight night of rioting in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood was fuelled by a years-long land dispute between Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlers in the strategic district near Jerusalem's Old City.

The holiest site in Judaism, the site of the biblical temples, is also home to the Muslim holy sites of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine.

Saturday night is "Laylat al-Qadr" or the "Night of Destiny", the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He said officers locked the doors of Al-Aqsa mosque, trapping worshippers for at least an hour.

What they're saying: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent session to address the violence, saying he holds Israel "responsible for the unsafe developments and sinful attacks taking place in the holy city".

Palestinian protesters look on during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, on May 7, 2021.

Tension had been rising in East Jerusalem in previous days over the possible eviction of Palestinian families living there.

Amid the tensions heating up in Jerusalem, reports emerged in Israeli media claiming that several "Palestinian gunmen" headed to Jerusalem to carry out a terror attack.

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Israel is now in the process of attempting to form a government after President Benjamin Netanyahu lost his mandate to form a coalition. On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions. Around 70 of those families live in Sheikh Jarrah.

The Palestinians view East Jerusalem - which includes major holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims - as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict. In a call to Palestine TV late Friday, President Mahmoud Abbas praised the courageous stand of the protesters and said Israel bore full responsibility for the violence. NO U.S. taxpayer dollars should support the annexation of Palestinian land or destruction of Palestinian homes.

Israeli security looks on as they stand by a burning auto in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem on May 6, 2021, amidst confrontations between Israeli security and Palestinian demonstrators in solidarity with local Palestinian families facing eviction as part of an ongoing effort by Jewish Israelis to take control of homes in the neighbourhood.

Al-Aqsa mosque director Omar al-Kiswani said in a video posted by Palestinian activists that, directly after the evening iftar break fast meal, "the Al-Aqsa mosque was stormed and unarmed worshippers were attacked to empty it".

Several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with Israeli settler groups trying to acquire property in the neighbourhood north of the Old City.

They said continued construction and evictions undermines efforts to rebuild trust.

Hundreds of people slept on the carpets on the mosque Friday night. Police eventually scattered the demonstrators using riot dispersal measures, claiming the protesters had instigated a riot.

It also comes as Israel Police brace for more unrest in Jerusalem after prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israeli forces shot two of the assailants dead and critically wounded the third.

Earlier Friday, Israeli police said officers killed two Palestinians and wounded a third after the three men opened fire on the Salem base in the occupied West Bank - the latest of several deadly shootings that week.

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