CAIRO (Reuters) – The head of the Arab League condemned on Tuesday deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip as “indiscriminate and irresponsible” and said Israel had provoked an earlier escalation in violence by its actions in Jerusalem.
The violence began with confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces at Al-Asqa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem’s walled Old City on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
“Israeli violations in Jerusalem, and the government’s tolerance of Jewish extremists hostile to Palestinians and Arabs, is what led to the ignition of the situation in this dangerous way,” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement.
The attacks in Gaza were a “miserable show of force at the expense of children’s blood”, he said.
Aboul Gheit called on the international community to act immediately to stop the violence, saying continuing “Israeli provocations” were an affront to Muslims on the eve of the Eid holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Arab League foreign ministers are holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.
Violent clashes escalated sharply on Monday when Israel launched air strikes on Gaza after Palestinian militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem.
Health officials in Gaza said at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed.
(Reporting by Nadeen Ebrahim; Writing by Nadine Awadalla and Aidan Lewis; editing by Philippa Fletcher)