ISRAELI ATTACKS AT AL-AQSA MOSQUE PROMPT GAZA ROCKET BARRAGE
At least 20 people were killed as Israeli warplanes blasted targets in Gaza, after around 150 rockets were launched at Israel, wounding a 49-year-old man in Sderot, slamming into homes and causing the biggest war games slated by Tel Aviv to be canceled.
In a report for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), Maher Abukhater, Sara Lemel, and Sebastian Engel said the rocket barrage came after Palestinians warned of a response to the suppression of Muslims at the Al-Aqsa Mosque who were observing Ramadan.
Many Palestinians are angry because Israeli police had cordoned off areas of the Old City to prevent gatherings, and some Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem are also facing eviction by Israeli authorities, heightening tensions.
Adding to the tension, Israel marked Jerusalem Day on Monday, when the country commemorates its annexation of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of 1967.
Palestinians see East Jerusalem as a potential capital of any independent country and contest Israel's claim.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz also reported that three Palestinians were killed by a precision attack by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip along with nine children.
Seven rockets also flew to Jerusalem, hitting one home and injuring some people, with Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense downing one rocket, Reuters and the Associated Press (AP) also reported.
The United States expressed concern about the "unacceptable escalation" in the region and called for de-escalation from all parties to the conflict, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price. The US embassy in Israel banned its staff from spending any time in the Old City until Sunday, while staffers in the rest of Jerusalem were advised to stay home between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. every night until then.