Jerusalem- Rocket warning sirens have for several times been activated in numerous locations across the Israeli-occupied territories over the past 24 hours amid an assertive Palestinian response to recent attacks on Jerusalem al-Quds and the besieged Gaza Strip.
Israeli media said on Saturday that Palestinian resistance movements had fired 36 rockets from the Gaza Strip toward the occupied territories overnight, activating warning sirens in various settlements in the early morning hours.
Israeli authorities claimed that most of the rockets had struck “open areas” and six of the projectiles had been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The rocket salvos came after Israeli bombings of the Gaza Strip and violent attacks on worshipers in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, in which more than 100 Palestinians have been injured.
The unity shown by the Palestinian factions and the ferocity of confrontation in the Old City as well as the response of the resistance movements in the besieged Gaza to fresh Israeli aggression is unprecedented.
It comes in the wake of normalization deals signed by several Arab regimes with Israel, which the Palestinians have described as a stab in their back.
The uptick in tensions also comes as Palestinian territories gear up to mark Quds Day which falls on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, along with pro-Palestine advocates around the world.
Addressing protesters in Gaza, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar condemned the decision of some Arab states to normalize relations with Israel last year.
“After a long series of protests and demonstrations, we have reached the conclusion that without weapons, we cannot liberate our land, protect our holy sites, bringing back our people to their land or maintain our dignity,” he said.
Another Hamas official condemned the Israeli attacks as a “desperate attempt” to break the willpower of Palestinians.
“Our people and our resistance are united with our people in al-Quds in their fight against the Zionist occupation and in their defense of al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, pledged to defend al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds.
Their reactions came after scores of Palestinians were injured in clashes with hundreds of extremist Israeli settlers who raided the Old City which houses al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem Al-Quds, chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Arabs get out!”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. The clashes on Thursday took place after some 300 members of the supremacist Lehava group took part in the violent anti-Arab march.
The group is best known for its use of intimidation, harassment and violence to stop intermarriage and assimilation of Jews with non-Jews, and stifle any public activity by non-Jews in the Occupied Territories.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh hailed the “heroic” resistance of the Arab youth.
“The scenes of heroism emerging from the streets and alleys of the city of al-Quds tonight of the defenseless al-Quds youth with willpower and resolve as they stand up to settler attacks, confirm once again the failure of Israeli plans to Judaize the Holy City,” Shtayyeh said.
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