Israeli police enter Al-Aqsa, new settler homes pledged after knife attack

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Palestinian men shout slogans in front of the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Jerusalem's Old City on July 27, 2018, after the site was reopened. (AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI)
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Masked youths discharged fireworks in the direction of Israeli police near Jerusalem’s most important mosque on Friday and police charged the mosque compound to confront them. (Reuters)
Updated 28 July 2018
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Israeli police enter Al-Aqsa, new settler homes pledged after knife attack

  • Troopers were sent into Al-Aqsa after suspects who had barricaded themselves in after running confrontations in the surrounding compound, say Israeli police
  • In Gaza, medics said a man and a 14-year-old boy were killed and dozens wounded by army fire

JERUSALEM/GAZA,: Israeli troopers entered Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest shrine in Islam, and carried out arrests on Friday in what police described as a pursuit of youths who had lobbed rocks and fireworks during clashes with its forces outside.
The rare raid, on a site that is an emblem of Palestinians’ statehood hopes and a frequent catalyst of their conflict with Israel, came as medics in Gaza said Israeli army gunfire killed two people — including a boy — during a weekly border protest.
A police spokesman said the troopers were sent into Al-Aqsa after suspects who had barricaded themselves in after running confrontations in the surrounding compound, during which masked men launched firecrackers from handheld canisters.
There was no immediate word of any violence in the mosque, whose older male worshippers said they had been allowed to exit after being searched. Witnesses later saw around 20 younger men detained by police, and said mosque prayers later resumed.
Police put the number of arrests at 24, and said four of its officers were injured in the melee. Muslim authorities said dozens of people were hurt by Israeli police stun grenades.
“The continued Israeli attacks against occupied Jerusalem will increase tensions and will drag the region into a religious war that we have long warned against,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office said in a statement.
Al Aqsa compound, also revered by Jews as a vestige of their two ancient temples, was among areas Israel captured in a 1967 war with Jordan, which retains a stewardship role at the mosque.
In Gaza, medics said a man and a 14-year-old boy were killed and dozens wounded by army fire, bringing to 154 the Palestinian death toll during demonstrations launched on March 30 to demand rights to land lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its founding.
The dead man, 43-year-old Ghazi Abu Mustafa, was brought to a hospital tent staffed by his wife, a medic, who collapsed when she discovered him among the casualties, her colleagues said.
The Israeli military said troops opened fire to hold off thousands of Palestinians, some of whom threw rocks and rolled burning tires at the border fence in attempts to sabotage it.
Israel says its lethal tactics are needed to prevent armed infiltrations and accuses Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers of encouraging the disturbances to distract from their governance problems under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Hamas denies this.
While several foreign powers have censured Israel’s handling of Gaza, the United States has echoed its blaming of Hamas.
The four months of Gaza tensions have also seen cross-border shelling and gunfire exchange. Over the last week, an Israeli soldier was killed and another wounded by what the army said were Gaza snipers, and seven Hamas gunmen died in air strikes.
Israel has lost tracts of farmland and forests to fires set by kites and helium balloons, laden with incendiary material and flown over from Gaza. The Israelis have responded by preventing the entry of non-essential commercial goods to Gaza.
In the occupied West Bank, another territory where Palestinians want independence, a teeange Palestinian knifed a Jewish settler to death and wounded two others on Thursday before being shot and killed. Locals said that Israeli troops, raiding the assailant’s village on Friday, wounded a man. 


Libya protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief

Former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi (L), dressed in prison blues, sits along with other defendants behind the bars of the accused cell during a hearing as part of his trial in a courthouse in Tripoli on December 28, 2014. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Libya protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief

  • Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Qaddafi’s fall
  • Al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia

TRIPOLI: Relatives and supporters of Libya’s Qaddafi-era intelligence chief, jailed for his alleged role in a bloody crackdown during the country’s 2011 uprising, protested in Tripoli on Saturday to demand his release.
Abdullah Al-Senussi, a brother-in-law of longtime dictator Muamar Qaddafi, was sentenced to death in 2015 over the part he allegedly played in the regime’s response to a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Qaddafi.
Eight others close to Qaddafi, including the Libyan leader’s son, Seif Al-Islam, also received death sentences following a trial condemned by the UN as “seriously” flawed.
Several dozen relatives and members of Senussi’s tribe, the Magerha, gathered in a central Tripoli square to demand he be freed over health concerns.
“The law and medical reports support our legitimate demand,” said one protester, Mohamad Amer.
Officials have not released specific details on his alleged health problems.
In a statement, the Magerha said his liberation would “contribute to and consolidate national reconciliation” in a country torn apart by intercommunal conflicts since Qaddafi’s fall.
The unusual protest comes just over a month after the release on health grounds of Abuzeid Dorda, Qaddafi’s head of foreign intelligence who was sentenced at the same time as Senussi.
The protesters held up photos of Senussi behind bars and placards reading “Freedom to prisoners. Yes to national reconciliation.”
Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Qaddafi’s fall.
Like the dictator’s son, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.
But in an unusual move, in 2013 the court gave Libyan authorities the green light to put him on trial.
He has since been detained in the capital, along with some 40 other senior Qaddafi-era officials including the dictator’s last prime minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi.
Al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia.
The group announced his release in 2017 but it was never confirmed and his fate remains unknown.