Palestinian Militant Group Claims Killing of Al-Aqsa Mosque Guard


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Israeli security forces reinforced their presence in the occupied West Bank on Saturday and made arrests after the murder of a guard at a Jewish settlement.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, one of the main militant groups present in the West Bank, claimed responsibility for the killing which — along with the killing of a Palestinian man, ended a Friday marked by clashes at the powder keg in Jerusalem, Al -Aqsa Mosque.

The army said the guard was on duty at the entrance to Ariel settlement on Friday evening when the attackers opened fire. Emergency services confirmed the man, in his 20s, had died of his injuries.

The soldiers reinforced their presence on Saturday, particularly at the entrance to the neighboring Palestinian community of Salfi, according to an army statement.

He said security forces made arrests and seized weapons in nearby Bruqin and Balata refugee camp.

The group that said on Saturday carried out the attack is the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah faction.

“We claim responsibility for the heroic operation in the settlement of Ariel in which a Zionist officer was killed, in response to violations committed by the occupation government in Jerusalem,” the group said.

On Friday evening, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a Palestinian man in his 20s was shot and killed during an Israeli army operation in the northern West Bank town of Azzun.

Forty-two people had already been injured in clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at the Al-Aqsa site revered by Muslims and Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The unrest occurred on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and brought the number of Palestinians injured over a two-week period to nearly 300 in clashes there.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War from the West Bank, then annexed, in a move unrecognized by most of the international community .

Israel has since built settlements in the West Bank that are considered illegal under international law but are home to around 475,000 Israelis.

Al-Aqsa tensions have arisen against a backdrop of broader violence since March 22 in Israel and the West Bank.

Thirteen Israelis, including an Arab-Israeli policeman, and two Ukrainians were killed in separate attacks inside Israel. Two of the deadly attacks were perpetrated in the Tel Aviv area by Palestinians.

A total of 27 Palestinians and three Israeli Arabs died during the same period, including bombers and people killed by Israeli security forces during operations in the West Bank.



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