Gaza, Sep 15 (IANS) The ruling Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza on Tuesday said the ongoing Israeli measures and escalation at the al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem “is a declaration of war”.
“The international community must intervene to stop the Israeli crime before the entire situation blows us,” Xinhua quoted Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, as saying in an e-mail statement.
“The Palestinian people will never let this criminal Israeli scheme to pass,” Abu Zuhri said, referring to a third consecutive day of tension between Israel and the Palestinians in the old city of Jerusalem.
Palestinian eyewitnesses said fierce confrontations resumed in the city and at the compound of al-Aqsa Mosque between dozens of Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police forces.
A number of worshippers were injured when the police fired tear gas canisters, percussion bombs and rubber bullets during Israeli police forces attempts to get the worshippers out of the mosque area.
The police said it wants to evacuate the mosque area of Palestinian worshippers to allow Jewish devotees enter for prayers to mark the Jewish holiday of the New Year.
Witnesses said that during the clashes, the ancient doors that lead to the mosque and the windows were damaged while parts of the carpets in the mosque were burned.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in exile, condemned the Israeli escalation and the growing violence in Jerusalem.
“These measures and this barbarian Israeli escalation in Jerusalem can only be stopped when new measures and decisions are taken by the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims to protect al-Aqsa Mosque,” said an e-mail statement of PNC.
The Palestinians want Jerusalem to be the capital of their Palestinian state that is to be established on the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967.