As escalation in the area follows the carnage at Jerusalem’s holiest shrine, Israel attacked southern Lebanon and targeted targets in the Gaza Strip this morning.
As Palestinian terrorists launched over three dozen rockets from Lebanon into Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to “attack our adversaries” who would “pay the price for every act of violence.” This morning, at dawn, jets targeted Hamas strongholds south of Tyre in Lebanon. The Hezbollah group in Lebanon might get involved in the conflict if the attacks continue.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is on a holy hill to both Muslims and Jews, but Hezbollah has avoided becoming involved in any conflicts over the site. The Israeli military said that Palestinian terrorists were responsible for the rocket fire on the country’s northern and southern fronts in response to the fighting at Al-Aqsa this week.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has urged all sides to stop acting provocatively and accept the existing arrangements around Jerusalem’s sacred sites.
Conflicts frequently erupted over competing claims to the sacred hill, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
Najib Mikati, the interim prime minister of Lebanon, has spoken out against the shooting of rockets from the country, stating that his administration condemns any military intensification and staging actions that endanger stability on Lebanese territory.
Hezbollah has spoken out against Israeli police incursions in Jerusalem, and since their 34-day battle in 2006, Israel and Hezbollah have managed to avoid another all-out warfare. The escalation occurs as protests against Netanyahu’s efforts to reform the Israeli court system have happened at home.
While Israel’s covert campaign on Iranian-linked targets in Syria looks to have escalated, tensions have risen near the Lebanese border. Lt. Col. Hecht said that it was not thought that Thursday’s rocket launch was related to developments in Syria.
Vedant Patel, the lead deputy spokeswoman for the State Department, has called for calm in Jerusalem, stating that any unilateral action threatening the status quo is unacceptable.
Tensions remained high in Jerusalem as Palestinians hurled stones and set off firecrackers from within the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse worshipers this week after they barricaded themselves inside the temple.
More than 400 persons were taken into custody by the police after many hours of fighting within the facility. Israeli authorities manage an entry, while Islamic and Jordanian authorities run the site. Muslim leaders in the area have condemned the violence at the monument.