Tensions are high in occupied East Jerusalem as thousands of Palestinian worshippers head to Al-Aqsa Mosque for the sacred Muslim night of Laylat al-Qadr, the day after Israeli forces stormed the holy site and injured more than 200 Palestinians.
Israel has announced it was beefing up security around the mosque compound ahead of expected protests over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
Tensions have mounted in the city, the occupied West Bank and Gaza throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid growing anger over the eviction orders.
Israeli border guards have over the past few days used skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades to disperse sit-ins held in support of the families facing eviction.
At least 205 Palestinians and 18 Israeli officers were injured in Friday’s confrontations, which drew international condemnations and calls for calm.
Here are all the latest updates:
49 mins ago (18:37 GMT)
What can stop Palestinians getting evicted from Sheikh Jarrah?
Although Sheikh Jarrah makes up just a tiny part of occupied East Jerusalem, the area is a major source of tension between Palestinians and Israelis.
A recent order to evict Palestinian families has triggered days of violent protests.
Despite international calls for restraint, the protests are intensifying. So why is the Sheikh Jarrah dispute so contentious?
Click here to learn more.
59 mins ago (18:27 GMT)
Arab-Israeli NGO urges end to incursions on Al-Aqsa Mosque
An Arab-Israeli NGO has called on senior Israeli officials to order security forces to halt their “violent incursions” into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and refrain from using excessive force against Palestinian worshippers and medical personnel.
In a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, lawyer Wesam Sharaf of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said the incursions endangered the lives of worshippers, and violated their right to freedom of worship.
“There is no need to overstate the constitutional status of the right to worship,” Sharaf wrote.
“The [Israeli police’s] dispersal of prayer sessions using excessive force and disproportionate and abusive means constitutes a grave violation of the constitutional right of worshippers to freedom of worship, in a manifestly disproportionate manner.”
Jehad Qaws’s daughter asks him about her toy before he’s detained by Israeli police on Saturday. Several Palestinians were rounded up in occupied J’lem following the flare up in AlAqsa Mosque compound on the last Friday of Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/wSHGiZhhxE
— Rania Zabaneh (@RZabaneh) May 8, 2021
1 hour ago (18:22 GMT)
‘Not $1’: US lawmaker urges end to complicity in Israeli abuses
Over the past several years, US Congresswoman Betty McCollum has tried to spur a debate in the United States about the billions of dollars that Washington sends to Israel each year.
The Democrat from Minnesota wants to know more about just where the money is going, while ensuring that Israel is not using US military assistance to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Last month, McCollum introduced her latest bill, which aims to get guarantees that US aid is not used in abuses against Palestinian children, the destruction of Palestinian property, the removal of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, or Israel’s attempts to further annex Palestinian land.
Read more here.
These horrific attacks on Palestinian worshippers come as the Israeli military plan to evict more than 500 Palestinians from their homes in the illegally occupied East Jerusalem.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) May 8, 2021
1 hour ago (18:08 GMT)
Israeli police block buses of Israeli-Palestinians heading to Al-Aqsa
Israel’s national police chief announced that he was beefing up forces in Jerusalem ahead of expected disturbances in the coming days following Friday’s protests.
Incredible sight: Thousands of Palestinian citizens in Israel make way on foot to Al-Aqsa after Israeli police blocked their buses. Tonight is the Night of Kadir, one of the holiest nights in Islam. The Israeli police are working hard again to cause chaos. pic.twitter.com/GN06QmZ4JJ
— Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן (@Istanbultelaviv) May 8, 2021
Thousands of Palestinians were expected to return to Al-Aqsa Mosque after dark fell for the sacred Muslim night of Laylat al-Qadr.
Television footage showed buses of Muslim worshippers from Israeli Arab cities being stopped by police on the main highway to Jerusalem.
Word of the roadblock spread on social media, drawing hundreds of young men from nearby Arab villages and Jerusalem.