| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Netanyahu Vows More Force if Hamas Uses Rockets as Clashes Erupt in Jerusalem

Israeli police fired stun grenades towards Palestinians who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers outside Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, just hours after Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire in Gaza.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said stones were thrown at officers who were at one of the gates on standby.

“Units responded and entered the Temple Mount area. They are dealing with these disturbances in order to contain the situation,” he added.

A Reuters eyewitness said Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails towards police near the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which sits atop the Old City plateau known to Muslims worldwide as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as Temple Mount.

Police also hurled stun grenades at a group of Palestinians marching through the grounds.

The site is one of the most sensitive sites in the Middle East conflict and a buildup of clashes there earlier in May touched off the Israel-Hamas conflict when the militant group began firing rockets from Gaza in response and Israel countered with air strikes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Friday Gaza’s Hamas rulers against any further rocket attacks following the ceasefire.

In a speech, hours after the truce took effect, he said, “if Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong.”

He vowed to respond with “a new level of force against any expression of aggression against communities around Gaza and any other part of Israel.”

Israel and Hamas fought an 11-day war, their fourth since the militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

Palestinians rallied by the thousands early Friday after the ceasefire took effect.

Young men waved Palestinian and Hamas flags, passed out sweets, honked horns and set off fireworks.

Spontaneous celebrations also broke out in east Jerusalem and across the occupied West Bank.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat