World Bulletin / News Desk
Palestinian security forces on Friday dispersed several rallies staged by Hamas in the West Bank in solidarity with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, eyewitnesses said.
Protesters staged a rally from the Al-Nasr mosque in Nablus but were swiftly dispersed by teargas fired by Palestinian security forces. Around 20 protesters were detained.
Another Hamas rally was dispersed by Palestinian security forces in Hebron.
Tension has run high in occupied West Bank since last week, when Israeli authorities sealed access to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex after the shooting of an extremist Jewish rabbi in the city before reopening it hours later.
The unrest mounted further after Israeli forces killed a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi in a raid last week on his East Jerusalem home.
Several Israeli parliamentarians have also entered the mosque complex in recent days, drawing the ire of Muslim worshippers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.
Groups of Jewish settlers, too, have forced their way into the site, prompting clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli forces.
Two Israelis were also killed when a Palestinian driver ran over Israeli pedestrians in East Jerusalem on Wednesday. The attacker was shot and killed by Israeli police.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem 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 – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.Last Mod: 07 Kasım 2014, 13:52