Clashes break out at Al-Aqsa Mosque after Israel-Hamas ceasefire

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JERUSALEM — Israeli security forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets against Palestinians outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, where thousands of worshipers had been attending Friday prayers, puncturing a half-day of calm brought on by a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

A CNN reporter at the mosque compound said dozens of Israeli officers hit journalists with batons and tried to point rifles at them, calling them “liars” when they showed them their press cards.

The officers moved on to the compound as thousands of worshipers chanted in solidarity with Gaza and with Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where some Palestinian families are facing eviction.

People, including screaming children, were seen fleeing the scene to the sound of stun grenade blasts. The Palestinian Red Crescent said it treated 20 injuries following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the compound. Two people were taken to hospital, while the rest were treated in the field, the aid group said.

The mosque and evictions have been flashpoints in the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which according to the Hamas-run health ministry, left 243 Palestinians in Gaza dead, including 66 children, and 12 in Israel — including two children who died from rocket fire, according to the IDF and Israel’s emergency service.

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas at 2 a.m. and the streets of Jerusalem and Gaza had been peaceful, albeit lively, for hours, with Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel celebrating the end of the worst conflict in years.

Crowds in Gaza waved Palestinian flags and shot fireworks, also celebrating Eid Al Fitr belatedly as the conflict with Israel forced Muslims to delay their celebrations marking the end of Ramadan.

Hundreds of people drove around historically Arab East Jerusalem honking their car horns in celebration, and video footage from social media and television showed similar scenes in other cities, including Umm Al-Fahm in Israel and Ramallah in the West Bank. —

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