Israeli occupation forces conducted a wave of raids and arrests across East Jerusalem on Saturday, a day after they raided the Al-Aqsa mosque and attacked Palestinians inside.
The build-up of Israeli forces came the day before Laylat al-Qadr, of the holy month of Ramadan.
There is widespread anger among Palestinians after the raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque, which saw more than 205 Palestinians injured after Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and stun grenades inside the mosque, leading to widespread international condemnation.
Medics from the Red Crescent said that 88 people had been hospitalised by the end of the night, with injuries including eye and face wounds resulting from rubber bullets and grenade fragments.
Meanwhile, occupation forces raided homes across Jerusalem’s Old City and other Palestinian neighborhoods.
On Saturday, Israeli blocked buses carrying Palestinians from other parts of Israel into the city, with reports of many being forced to walk along highways instead. Most were expecting to go to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Laylat al-Qadr, which always brings huge crowds into the area.
Many of the travelers were, however, later picked up and transported to Jerusalem by Palestinians, following a call-out by activists. However, footage on social media showed thousands traveling to the city on foot.
The unrest spread beyond Jerusalem and into other areas of Israel as well as the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli authorities have said they have deployed extra troops to the West Bank as well as the Gaza border.
The unrest follows a series of nightly clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians around Al-Aqsa, which began in the early days of the holy month of Ramadan, when Israel erected steel gates around the mosque, which they claimed were for crowd control purposes, and forcibly dispersed worshippers from the Damascus Gate.
Another key element to the unrest has been protests in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, against the proposed eviction of seven Palestinian families from their homes, which are being seized by Israeli settlers.
Israeli forces attacked the protests, which spread to areas including Nazareth and Jaffa, and were bolstered by anger at the scenes in Al-Aqsa.
On Saturday night, Israeli police used rubber bullets and skunk water against hundreds of protesters in Sheikh Jarrah.
The latest clashes come after a week of settler intimidation of Palestinians on their land across the occupied territories, the expansion of settlements, and the promise to further expand other settlements. The settlements are illegal under international law, and their expansion has been condemned by even Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States.