Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward Jerusalem on Monday, setting off air raid sirens throughout the city, after hundreds of Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli police at a flashpoint religious site in the contested holy city. The early-evening attack drastically escalated what already are heightened tensions throughout the region following weeks of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem. Shortly after the sirens sounded, explosions could be heard in Jerusalem. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The Israeli Army said there was an initial burst of seven rockets, one was intercepted, and rocket fire was continuing, the AP reports.
Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing, said the rocket attack was a response to what he called Israeli "crimes and aggression" in Jerusalem. "This is a message the enemy has to understand well," he said. He threatened more attacks if Israel again invades the sacred Al-Aqsa compound or carries out evictions of Palestinian families in a neighborhood of east Jerusalem. Earlier, Israeli police firing tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians at the iconic compound. In an apparent attempt to avoid further confrontation, Israeli authorities changed the planned route of a march by ultranationalist Jews through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.
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