Hamas calls for ‘mobilization’ of Palestinians ahead of Al-Aqsa prayers on Friday

The Hamas terror group on Thursday called on Palestinians to “mobilize” for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in defense of the holy site and Jerusalem.

In a statement, the organization praised the steadfastness of the demonstrators who “have repelled the incursions of the occupation and its settlers with courage and pride, assuring everyone from afar that Al-Aqsa has men who protect and defend it. its purity, despite the ugliness of the aggression and terrorism of the occupiers.

At the same time, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about security developments in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, his office said.

According to the Palestinian Shehab news agency, Haniyeh expressed her gratitude for Moscow’s support for Palestinian rights at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The leader of the terror group accused Israel of preventing worshipers from reaching the holy site in Jerusalem, assaulting and arresting worshipers and vandalizing property.

Meanwhile, Shehab reported, Lavrov said Russia has “always been on the side of the Palestinian people in their right to self-determination and their right to establish their Palestinian state.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on March 5, 2022. (Psergei Ilnitsky/Pool/AFP)

He denounced what he called Israel’s excessive use of force against civilians in the capital.

On Thursday morning, Palestinians and Israeli police engaged in fresh skirmishes on the Temple Mount and in Al-Aqsa.

Police say dozens of masked rioters entered the mosque and sealed the doors before starting throwing rocks and fireworks at officers, who responded with riot dispersal aid.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh flashes the victory sign before addressing reporters after his meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, in Beirut, Lebanon, June 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The Red Crescent said 20 Palestinians were injured in the clashes.

Thursday was the last day Jewish visitors were allowed into the site before a closure until the end of Ramadan on May 2, under a years-long policy of banning non-Muslims from the site for the last 10 days of the Muslim Holy Month.

Video showed Jewish visitors touring the site as Thursday’s clashes raged, with smoke and the sound of explosions coming from the direction of the mosque.

The Temple Mount is a frequent focus of Israeli-Palestinian tensions, with clashes there last year helping to precipitate the 11-day military conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas leaders from the enclave fired rockets into Jerusalem. The site is the holiest place for Jews as the location of biblical temples, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the Temple Mount, is the third holiest site for Muslims.

Jerusalem has been a flashpoint in recent weeks as Palestinians clash with police over the Temple Mount flashpoint, Ramadan and Passover holidays draw thousands to holy sites, Israeli security forces were suppressing terrorism in the West Bank and that terrorist groups in Gaza were fanning the flames.

On Thursday, Haniyeh said “we are only at the beginning of the battle” and warned Israel against the Temple Mount.

“As we defeated the so-called march of the flag, we will defeat the policy of invasion [Al-Aqsa]said Ismail Haniyeh, after police on Wednesday banned Jewish nationalists from entering the Old City’s Damascus Gate.

His comments came after Israeli and Gaza-based terrorists clashed in the biggest firefight since fighting last year, with the military carrying out air raids in the Strip in response to rocket fire and the launch of anti-aircraft missiles.

Muslim worshipers wrapped in Palestinian flags pray during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan outside the Dome of the Rock shrine in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP/Mahmoud Illean )

No Israelis were directly injured by rocket fire earlier in the night, but three people were lightly injured in falls that occurred while running towards bomb shelters.

No Gaza group immediately took responsibility for any of the night’s launches, as it had after the first rocket launch of the week on Monday night. However, multiple media outlets quoting Israeli security officials blamed Hamas’ rival Palestinian Islamic Jihad as responsible for Monday’s rocket attacks.

This week’s rocket fire ended a nearly four-month period of calm on the Gaza border.

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