World Bulletin / News Desk
The Mufti of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) Sheikh Mohamed Hussein on Friday called on Palestinians to camp out in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex next week following calls by extremist Jewish groups to force their way into the holy site.
"I call on Palestinians – and anyone else able to reach Al-Quds – to flock to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and remain on its premises in order to confront these belligerent calls [by Jewish groups]," Hussein said in his weekly Friday sermon at the mosque.
Several extremist Jewish groups have urged followers to mark the upcoming Jewish Passover holiday by storming the mosque complex next Monday.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have repeatedly entered the Al-Aqsa complex. The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
Dozens of Palestinians suffered teargas inhalation on Friday when Israeli forces dispersed several protests against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank.
Army troops used teargas to disperse protests in Nilin, Bilin, Nabi Salih in western Ramallah and Al-Maasarah in western Bethlehem, and in Kafr Qaddum and Qaryut in western and southern Nablus respectively, according to a statement by the Popular Resistance Committees, a local NGO.
In Kafr Qaddum, Israeli forces arrested two demonstrators after dispersing their protest, in which Palestinians had demanded the reopening of the town's main road, closed by the Israeli army 13 years ago.
The Israeli army also used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration in Qaryut held to protest recent attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers from the nearby Shilo settlement.
Every Friday, Palestinians stage demonstrations against the Israeli occupation of Arab land and Israel's "separation wall." Such rallies are usually forcibly dispersed by the Israeli army.
According to the Palestinian government in Ramallah, the separation wall cuts some 50,000 Palestinian residents of Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) off from the city center.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, along with the European Union, said they "are united in rejecting the electoral process" that led to the May 20 ballot.
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