Palestinian president discusses Mideast tension with Jordanian King, Putin

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the growing tension with Israel in East Jerusalem during two separate phone conversations with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Russian President Vladimir Putin…reports Asian Lite News

Abbas exchanged views with King Abdullah over the situation in East Jerusalem, accusing the Israeli police forces of acting “brutally towards the safe worshipers, in flagrant violation of international law and the legal and historical status of the status quo in the holy city,” the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have run high in recent days during the rare confluence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover. Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police erupted on Friday at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, leaving over 160 Palestinians injured.

According to the report, the two sides agreed to hold a meeting soon, and continue consultation, coordination and contact with concerned parties to stop violence at the holy site.

In his phone talk with Putin, Abbas discussed bilateral ties as well as the recent development of situation in the Middle East, saying there is a need to respect international law and work to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Abbas called for efforts to provide international protection for the Palestinians, WAFA said.

Israeli fighter jets bombarded military facilities in the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday in response to a rocket fired from the strip hours earlier, eyewitnesses and security officials said.

Palestinian security officials in Gaza said Israeli fighter jets carried out seven successive airstrikes on the facilities which belong to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and had been evacuated shortly before bombardment. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam Brigades said in a short statement that its militants fired surface-to-air missiles at the Israeli fighter jets and forced them to leave.

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Hazem Qassem, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that the airstrikes on southern Gaza Strip are “a failed attempt to prevent the Palestinian people from resisting the occupation and defend the city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

An Israeli army spokesman said in a statement that Israeli fighter jets bombed a number of targets, including a workshop that manufactures weapons in southern Gaza Strip.

The spokesman added that the airstrikes on Hamas facilities came in response to a rocket launched from the Hamas-controlled enclave at southern Israel on Monday. No injuries or damage were reported after the rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome Air Defense System.