Middle East

Israel ‘facing extremist Islamic terrorism’

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid claimed on Wednesday that Tel Aviv is “facing extremist Islamic terrorism” and that it is trying to maintain the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Lapid’s allegations came during a meeting with a delegation from the US State Department held against the backdrop of the Israeli escalation and recent attacks on Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to the fierce campaign of arrests and killings.

“The State of Israel is facing extremist Islamic terrorism whose aim is to sow violence, fear and chaos,” Lapid claimed, adding: “We call on all leaders in the region to work and speak responsibly in order to calm the situation.”

Although the Israeli forces’ attacks on Palestinian worshippers in the Al- Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan were aimed at protecting the settlers’ provocative incursions into the Muslim holy site, Lapid claimed, “Israel maintains and will also maintain in the future the status quo” in the Al- Aqsa Mosque, and has no intention of changing it.

READ: Palestinian resistance deterred Israel, defeated its fake narrative

“We will not accept, under any circumstances, the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip at the State of Israel. Hamas and the entire world should know that Israel will do everything it should to protect the security of its citizens,” he continued.

The State Department delegation included Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Yael Lempert, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs at the Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Hady Amr and the US Ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides.

Lapid claimed that hundreds of thousands of Muslims prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the first two weeks of Ramadan, however, reports suggest the Israeli army prevented a large number of Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank from entering Jerusalem in addition to imposing a comprehensive closure on movement coinciding with the Jewish Passover Holiday.

The Israeli army has also imposed restrictions and limited the number of Christian worshippers to 1,000 during the celebration of Holy Saturday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

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