Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Palestinians clash with Israeli forces amid Aqsa restrictions

Clashes broke out between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid visits by right-wing Jews on Wednesday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Israeli forces fired stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets towards worshipers and chased them out of the compound, the sources said.

Three Palestinians were injured during the clashes.

Tensions had risen at the holy site early in the day as Israeli authorities imposed restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the mosque.

An Israeli police statement said all men under the age of 50 would be prevented from entering.

Though the statement said women would be allowed into the compound, witnesses said all women were denied entry as well.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a statement that Israeli forces "assaulted" Palestinians who were conducting a sit-in at Lions Gate in protest against the restrictions.

By 9:00, some 100 right-wing Israelis had entered the compound, Palestinian security guards at the mosque told Ma'an.

Palestinians chanted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is the greatest." more

UN's Ban urges probe into Gaza school shelling

GAZA CITY (AFP) -- UN chief Ban Ki-moon demanded Tuesday an independent probe into Israel's deadly shelling of a school during the Gaza conflict, expressing shock at the devastation during a visit to the Palestinian enclave.

Two days after donor states pledged $5.4 billion to rebuild Gaza, Ban toured some of the areas worst hit during the July-August war between Israel and the territory's Hamas rulers.

"No amount of (UN) Security Council sessions, reports or briefings could have prepared me for what I witnessed today," he said after being driven through the ruins of Gaza City's Shujaiyya district and the nearby Jabaliya refugee camp.

The secretary general was speaking at a UN school in Jabaliya, where Israeli tank shells slammed into two classrooms on June 30, killing at least 14 people sheltering there.

"The shelling of the United Nations school is absolutely unacceptable. These actions must be fully and independently investigated," he said.

Relatives of the dead held up posters showing their loved ones and disabled casualties waited to see Ban.

The UN chief also called on Palestinian militant groups to cease firing rockets at Israel from the territory.

"I repeat here in Gaza the rockets fired by Hamas and other military groups must end. They have brought nothing but suffering," he said.

One classroom, now repaired, had the words "every human being has the right to life" written on its walls.

After meeting with members of a new Palestinian consensus government, Ban told reporters the devastation he had seen was worse than that caused in the previous conflict of winter 2008-2009. more