Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, firing stun grenades and attacking Palestinian worshippers.
The UN, Turkey, US, Canada and several other countries and bodies have expressed shock and concern about Israeli forces storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque overnight, firing stun grenades and attacking Palestinian worshippers.
The incident, which came as Muslims mark the holy month of Ramadan and Jews prepare to begin Passover, has raised fears of a wider conflagration.
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Palestinian fighters in Gaza responded to the Israeli attack with rocket fire, while Israeli planes attacked multiple sites in the besieged coastal enclave.
Here is how the world reacted to Israel’s attacks on Wednesday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “shocked and appalled” by images of Israeli security forces beating people at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, his spokesman said on Wednesday.
Stephane Dujarric said Guterres viewed images of the “violence and beating” within the holy site, and found it more distressing because it came “at a time of a calendar which is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims that should be a time for peace and nonviolence”.
“Places of worship should only be used for peaceful religious observances,” he added.
The White House said it was “extremely concerned” and urged restraint by both Israelis and Palestinians.
“We remain extremely concerned by the continuing violence and we urge all sides to avoid further escalation,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
“It’s imperative, now more than ever, that both Israelis and Palestinians work together to de-escalate this tension and to restore a sense of calm.”
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Israeli police raid, calling such acts in the mosque compound a “red line” for Turkey.
“I condemn the vile acts against the first qibla of Muslims in the name of my country and people, and I call for the attacks to be halted as soon as possible,” Erdogan said. “The name of this is the politics of repression, the politics of blood, the politics of provocation. Turkey can never remain silent and unmoved in the face of these attacks.
“Putting a hand on Al-Aqsa Mosque and trampling on its sanctity is a red line for us.”
Turkey denounced the attacks on worshippers as “unacceptable”, saying they violated its “sacred” character.
“Normalisation with Israel has begun, but our commitment cannot be at the expense of the Palestinian cause and our principles,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on the margins of a NATO gathering in Brussels.
“These attacks have exceeded the limit.”
The Arab League called on the UN Security Council to intervene to halt Israeli “crimes” at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
In a statement issued following an emergency meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, the Arab League condemned Israeli assaults.
“These crimes escalated dangerously in the past days of Ramadan, and led to hundreds of injuries and arrests of worshippers, incursions and deliberate desecration of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist Israeli officials and settlers under the protection of the occupation forces,” it said.
The statement rejected “all forms of Israeli violations of Islamic and Christian holy places, especially those aimed at changing the historical and legal status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticised the Israeli government’s “inflamed rhetoric” and urged it to change its approach to the Palestinians.
“We’re extremely concerned with the inflamed rhetoric coming out of the Israeli government, we’re concerned about the judicial reforms … we’re concerned by the violence around the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Trudeau said.
“We need to see the Israeli government shifting in its approach, and Canada is saying that as a dear and close and steadfast friend to Israel, we are deeply concerned around the direction that the Israeli government has been taking,” he said.
Egypt’s foreign ministry called for an immediate halt to Israel’s “blatant assault” on Al-Aqsa worshippers.
“Everyone who has an influence on the situation has the responsibility to not pour more oil on the fire and to do everything possible to calm the situation,” a German foreign ministry spokesman said.
It was “essential” for Israeli and Palestinian authorities to stay in close contact, as well as Jordanian officials, who administer the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he added.
Qatar warned in a statement that Israeli practices “will have serious repercussions on security and stability in the region, and will undermine efforts to revive the stalled peace process, if the international community does not hasten to take action”.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates also strongly condemned the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli police, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The UAE called on Israeli authorities to halt escalation and avoid exacerbating tension and instability in the region,” it said.