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Palestine warns Israel provocations will turn Al-Aqsa complex into ‘battlefield’

The Palestinian Authority (PA) warned Sunday that Israeli provocations will turn the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem into a “battlefield.”

Violence escalated across the Palestinian territories after Israeli police last week forcibly removed worshippers from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

The Israeli raids on the mosque triggered rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, with Israeli retaliating with air and artillery shelling.

“The daily attacks against holy sites and worshipers during the holy month of Ramadan are condemned and unacceptable actions that will inflame the region and drag it into the abyss,” PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement.

The spokesman held Israel fully responsible for any potential deterioration of the situation in the occupied territories.

“The Israeli occupation is trying to challenge our people’s will, but this will not discourage them. Our people will remain steadfast, defending their land and sanctities, whatever the price,” Abu Rudeineh said.

“Jerusalem, with its holy sites, is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine. All Israeli measures and US backing will not achieve security and stability,” he stressed.

On Sunday, more than 900 Israeli settlers forced their way into the Al-Aqsa complex in East Jerusalem amid tight Israeli security measures, according to the Jordanian-run Jerusalem Waqf Department.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site. Jews, for their part, call the area the Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two ancient Jewish temples.

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.

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