Scores of Palestinians were injured in a crackdown by Israeli police outside the Old City of Jerusalem as tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers prayed at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque on Islam’s holy night of Laylat al-Qadr.
At least 90 people were injured on Saturday, the Palestine Red Crescent said, a day after Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa and injured more than 200 Palestinians. Israeli police said at least one officer was hurt.
Israeli security forces on horseback and in riot gear deployed stun grenades and water cannon against Palestinian youth who threw stones, lit fires and tore down police barricades in the streets.
Tensions have mounted in the city, the occupied West Bank and Gaza throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid growing anger about the potential eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
Israeli border guards have, during the past few days, used skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades to disperse sit-ins held in support of the families facing eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
At least 205 Palestinians and 18 Israeli officers were injured in Friday’s confrontations, which drew international condemnations and calls for calm.
Several nations have expressed concerns and expressed condemnation over the violence in Jerusalem.
“We are alarmed by the provocative statements made by some political groups, as well as the launching of rockets and the resumption of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel, and attacks on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank,” the envoys of US, Russia, the EU and the UN said in a statement on Saturday.
“The Envoys noted with serious concern the possible evictions of Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for generations… and voice opposition to unilateral actions, which will only escalate the already tense environment.
“We call upon Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days.”