A rocket was fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip overnight Saturday-Sunday, as Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in Jerusalem and rioted along the Gaza border with Israel, amid a serious flare-up of violence over tensions surrounding the Temple Mount.
The uptick of violence in the south and the capital came a day after Jerusalem saw some of the city’s worst violence in years, with 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police officers wounded as hundreds rioted in the Temple Mount and cops broke into the compound to quell the unrest. Terror groups in Gaza have threatened to retaliate against Israel.
The riots in Jerusalem and Gaza were apparently contained overnight Saturday-Sunday by Israeli security forces, with the violence subsiding around 2 a.m.
Around 1:30 a.m., a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said. Rocket alert sirens were only triggered in an open field, where the projectile apparently landed. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
The army later said it carried out a reprisal strike on a Hamas military post in southern Gaza.
“Terror has consequences,” the IDF tweeted.
Earlier, in Jerusalem, 80 Palestinians were hurt in riots at Damascus Gate outside the Old City and 14 were hospitalized, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, after protesters hurled bottles and rocks at Israeli security forces and the police responded with stun grenades and water cannons.
Some 90,000 Palestinians attended Laylat al-Qadr prayers at the Temple Mount, marking the Ramadan holiday’s holiest night. Worshipers at the compound chanted in support of the Hamas terror group’s military wing, which reiterated its threat to attack Israel over recent tensions in Jerusalem.
“Strike Tel Aviv,” the Palestinian worshipers chanted. “In spirit and in blood, we will redeem al-Aqsa.” Similar calls were heard at the Damascus Gate.
Palestinian demonstrators also set fire to a police barricade near Damascus Gate during the ensuing riot, which involved hundreds.
Not far from Jerusalem’s Old City, renewed clashes broke out in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the site of tensions over the pending eviction of several Palestinian families from homes claimed by nationalist Jews.
Police said a small protest there turned into rioting that included “waving Palestinian flags and throwing rocks toward the forces.” The officers responded with riot dispersal means.
Two Palestinian suspects were arrested after pepper-spraying Israeli officers, police said. The suspects were found to be carrying “means of attack,” it said, without specifying.
Meanwhile, on the Gaza border, some 450 Palestinians at four locations along the fence separating the Strip from Israel set fire to tires and hurled improvised explosive devices at Israeli soldiers. The military launched flares over the area, as well as responding with tear gas and rubber-tipped bullets, Palestinian media reports said.
The explosions from the IEDs could be heard in nearby Israeli towns along the Gaza border. “There is no danger and there is no change in the guidelines,” a spokesperson for the Sdot Negev Regional Council told residents.
Officials said three incendiary balloons were launched into Israel, causing fires but no injuries.
Saturday also saw at least 10 fires in southern Israel caused by balloons from Gaza carrying incendiary devices. There were no reports of any injuries or danger to nearby towns.
The international community, including Israel’s Arab allies, condemned the Jewish state Saturday for security forces “storming” of Al-Aqsa during the clashes.
The Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem has long been one of the main flashpoints of Israeli-Palestinian friction. The holiest place in Judaism — as the site of the two biblical temples — is also home to the Muslim holy sites of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.
Israel fears the potential for a major escalation of the conflict in the coming days, and was braced for more violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.