Israel strikes hit Hamas military base as Jerusalem shrine tensions rise

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Israel strikes hit Hamas military base as Jerusalem shrine tensions rise

An explosion is caused by Israeli airstrikes on a Hamas military base in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip on April 19, 2022. Israel fired down a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday, the Israeli military said, the first such attack in months as tensions over a flashpoint Jerusalem shrine drew angry pro-Palestinian rhetoric from Jordan and US mediation efforts.

The Gaza faction claimed responsibility for the launch, which followed warnings from the dominant Hamas Islamists of reprisals for Israeli conduct around Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque compound.

Palestinian sources said within hours Israeli air strikes hit camps used by Hamas and another Gaza faction. One target was an arms manufacturing site, according to the military. Since Friday, Al Aqsa - revered by Jews as a vestige of two ancient temples - has seen confrontations between Israeli riot police and Palestinian stone-throwers who helped fan a Gaza war a year ago.

Palestinians accuse Israel of encroaching at Al Aqsa during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israel says Palestinian protesters want to disrupt Muslim prayer for political ends and to prevent visits from Jews who are now celebrating Passover.

The tensions complicate Israel's security relations with Jordan, which is the custodian of Al Aqsa and has a Palestinian majority.

Jordan's King Abdullah told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Israel's Al Aqsa policy seriously undermines its chances of peace with the Palestinians, Amman said. Jordan summoned Israel's acting ambassador for a reprimand.

In a statement, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh told the Israeli occupation: "I must laud those who throw stones at all of those Zionists who desecrate Al Aqsa mosque with the protection of the Israeli occupation government." Several passengers were injured when Israeli buses they were traveling on to Jerusalem's Old City were stoned by Palestinians on Sunday, police said. Al Aqsa protesters have been stockpiling rocks for attacks on Jewish visitors and police.

At least 152 Palestinians and eight police were injured on Friday by Al Aqsa, according to medics.

I view the statements blaming Israel for the violence we are being subject to. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a video statement issued after al-Khasawneh's televised remarks that some are encouraging stone-throwing.

This serves as a prize for the inciters, chiefmost Hamas, who are trying to ignite violence here in Jerusalem, he said.

READ MORE: Israel security forces get free hand to fight deadly attacks.

The State Department said US officials were engaged in phone calls with Israelis, Palestinians and Arab representatives over the weekend in an effort to prevent an escalation of the Jerusalem tensions.