By Mohamed Majid
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Palestinian factions on Saturday condemned Israel’s shutting of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli police shut the mosque gates after a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli fire near the flashpoint site.
In a statement, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) termed the closure of the mosque gates as “a brazen aggression and serious escalation against the Palestinian people.”
Hamas spokesman described the killing of a Palestinian by Israeli fire near one of the mosque gates as “part of the religious war waged by the Israeli occupation against our people and our holy sites.”
Fatah spokesman Monzer al-Hayek called the Israeli practices at the Al-Aqsa complex as a provocation.
"What is happening at Al-Aqsa is nothing but a provocation to terrorize worshipers [to pave the way] for allowing extremist settlers to storm” the site, he said.
Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.
Over 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of this year, according to Palestinian figures. Fourteen Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third-holiest site. Jews, for their part, call the area as the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.
*Ikram Kouachi in Ankara contributed to this report