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Hamas Chief arrives in Lebanon for Hezbollah talks amid Al-Aqsa tension

April 5, 2023 at 4:38 pm

Ismail Haniyeh Head of the Hamas Political Bureau on 13 October, 2022 [Fazil Abd Erahim/Anadolu Agency]

Hamas political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday amid tension at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Occupied East Jerusalem, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Hamas spokesman in Lebanon, Walid Kilani said Haniyeh’s visit aims to follow up on previous meetings between the Palestinian group and Lebanese movement, Hezbollah, “to coordinate stances and strengthen the Resistance against the Israeli enemy.”

Tension rose in the Occupied West Bank on Wednesday after Israeli police detained around 350 worshippers from inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

A group of Palestinians maintained a presence in the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall in the complex after Jewish settlers called for a raid on the Mosque. They attempted to prevent police from entering by closing its doors.

Surrounding the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall, Israeli police went up to the roof of the Mosque, smashed some of the windows and initially intervened with sound bombs against the worshippers inside.

According to the Commission for Palestinian Prisoners Affairs, Israeli police began to release the detainees on the condition that they are removed from Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem’s Old City for a week.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents Islam’s third-holiest site. Jews call the area 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 recognised by the international community.

READ: Muslim world facing historic test over Al-Aqsa Mosque