Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired seven rockets into Israel early Thursday morning as Jews throughout the nation began the Passover holiday.
Tensions have been rising throughout the country even though Ramadan is still in progress and the Jewish holiday of Passover began on Wednesday. Israeli soldiers have been watching rocket fire from Gaza for the last week, but only a few projectiles have made it past Israeli air defenses.
Muslims worldwide go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a scene of many protests in recent years, during the holy month of Ramadan. Being the most sacred site in Judaism, the Jewish temple mount now serves as the foundation for the mosque. The Israeli air force bombed a Hamas weapons plant on Wednesday. Over three hundred fifty people were arrested after a rough night inside the mosque. Israeli police claimed to have taken control of the scene after “several lawbreaking youth and masked agitators” barricaded themselves inside the mosque and began shouting aggressive chants.
Israeli officials don’t limit who may enter the mosque or how long they can stay, so many Muslims try to break their fast by sleeping there in the last week of Ramadan.
Muslims inside the mosque reacted to Israeli police clearing the area each night with rocks and fireworks, resulting in hundreds of arrests and a number of violent confrontations.
Police said they had to enter the complex to get the people out after “many and protracted attempts to bring them out by talking” failed. To rescue them, they had to break inside the facility.
An 11-day conflict erupted between Israel and Hamas in Gaza the year prior, also during Ramadan and the Jewish festival of Passover. Gaza was the scene of the fighting.