WASHINGTON — A leader of the terrorist Palestinian group Hamas called for Muslims to defend one of their holy shrines in Jerusalem, known as the al-Aqsa mosque.
Reuters reported that Khaled Meshaal told reporters that Israel is trying to seize the site. Meshaal is living in exile in Doha, Qatar.
He said, “We call on all our people inside the country to hurry up to al-Aqsa to defend it.” Palestinians, believing this rhetoric, clashed with Israeli police and security forces who were on patrol in the vicinity of the mosque.
Israeli sources said that the police were there to stop Palestinians from “staging a riot and disrupting visits” to the shrine, which is revered in both Jewish and Muslim cultures. Palestinians accuse Israel of restricting their access and enabling Orthodox Jews to access the compound, while Israel says it is trying to protect the shrine and its visitors.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is not moving to restrict Palestinian access to the mosque and blamed “Palestinian extremists” for the recent violent clashes.
Meshaal’s violent rhetoric continued, “We call on the nation to be angry and to send a message of painful anger to the world that the Palestinian people, the Arab and Muslim nation, will not be silent at the Israeli crime”.