The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas warned Israel on Tuesday it would react to any possible “violations” at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, issued the warning less than two weeks before the start of Ramadan and amid an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Salah al-Aruri, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, said the risk of escalation entirely “depends on the Israeli occupation’s violations across Palestine and at Al-Aqsa mosque” located in annexed east Jerusalem.
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Al-Aqsa, a Jordan-administered mosque compound, is the third holiest site in Islam. It is built on top of what Jews call the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.
Any Israeli attempt to “impose” its policies during Ramadan would be met with the “reaction of our people,” Aruri said in remarks carried by his movement’s official website.
Hamas, meanwhile, has no plans to initiate an escalation during Ramadan, according to the English-language version of Aruri’s remarks, although such a clarification does not appear in the Arabic version.
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Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.
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