Hamas threatens ‘religious war’ over Jewish visits to Temple Mount
The Palestinian terror group Hamas threatens a “religious war” against Israel over what it called “violations against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque” ahead of the upcoming Jewish High Holidays.
Hamas’s threats came just ahead of the Jewish New Year and a day after a group of Jewish activists visited the Temple Mount and blew the shofar — a ram’s horn that’s trumpeted in the run-up to and during the Jewish High Holidays.
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, and in the succeeding weeks thousands of Israelis are expected to visit Jerusalem.
Omer Barlev, Israel’s minister in charge of police, told Kan public radio yesterday that Israeli authorities would not limit Jewish visits to the contested Jerusalem holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Addressing reporters in Gaza City, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar decries what he calls a “blatant attack on the religious and Islamic status of the city and the mosque,” saying Israel bears full responsibility for “the possibility of dragging the entire region into an open religious war.”
He says the terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, would “defend the rights and sanctities of our people by all possible means.”