Al Qaeda calls for terror attacks in US and its allies over Jerusalem…
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has condemned the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called on militants to close ranks to support Palestinians.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Al Qaeda network urged followers around the world to target vital interests of the United States, its allies and Israel. A statement posted Friday on al-Qaeda’s media arm as-Sahab called for holy war or jihad and described America as an oppressor of Muslims.
In the statement carried by the U.S. SITE monitoring group, the Yemen-based AQAP said Trump’s decision was the result of what it said were “normalization steps” between some Gulf Arab countries and Israel, Fox News reports.
“It is also a clear challenge to the Muslim world that sees the centrality of the Palestinian cause,” the group said. “In the face of this serious events, we stand by our people in Palestine and support them with all we possess.”
Addressing Islamist militants, the group called on them to close ranks to be ready to support Palestinians and urged Muslims to help with money and weapons.
Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops across the West Bank and Muslim worshippers from Jordan to Indonesia took to the streets after Friday midday prayers to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In several cities and town, angry protesters hurled stones at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Smoke rose over Bethlehem.
Trump’s seismic policy shift on Jerusalem has angered Arabs and Muslims who view it as an expression of blatant pro-Israel bias on one of the region’s most explosive religious and political disputes.
On Friday, clashes erupted after Palestinians poured out of mosques after midday prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week.
Erab Fukaha, a spokesperson for the Red Crescent paramedics, said 12 Palestinians were hurt by rubber-coated steel pellets and one by live fire.
Palestinian political groups had called for massive demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem on Friday.
On Friday, all eyes were on East Jerusalem’s Old City, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is Islam’s third holiest shrine and stands on the remnants of Judaism’s holiest site. One of the compound’s out walls is the holiest site where Jews can pray.
In the past, Israeli authorities often imposed age restrictions, barring younger Muslims from entering the Al Aqsa compound during periods of tensions.
The preacher at Al Aqsa told worshippers that the city will “remain Muslim and Arab.”
“All we want from the Arab and Muslim leaders is action and not statements of denunciation,” Sheikh Yousef Abu Sneineh said to the approximately 27,000 worshippers.
Around 2,000 people later gathered in the plaza around the mosque, chanting: “With our soul and blood, we will defend Al Aqsa and Jerusalem.
Violent protests and international condemnation have already followed Trump’s move Wednesday, when he also committed to moving the US embassy to the holy city.
Both Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital.
Some Palestinian factions called for three “days of rage” to protest the decision, which culminates Friday. At least 49 people were injured Thursday during protests over Trump’s decision, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
No age restrictions have been imposed on Muslims wanting to worship inside the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted Friday. Younger worshippers have been barred from the holy site in the past when Israeli security forces anticipated demonstrations.
“Police (are) prepared to respond to protests if necessary,” Rosenfeld added.
Thirteen Palestinians were arrested overnight Thursday into Friday morning in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, a non-governmental organization that provides legal aid to Palestinians arrested by Israeli authorities.