Report: Egypt, Qatar, UN step up mediation efforts between Israel, Hamas

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Palestinian protesters hurl stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes on the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 15, 2022.
Jamal Awad/Flash90Palestinian protesters hurl stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes on the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 15, 2022.

There are fears violence could escalate into a wider conflict

After a day of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at a Jerusalem flashpoint site, Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations stepped up their mediation between Israel and Hamas in a bid to prevent further escalation.

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At least 150 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police inside Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday.

According to a Reuters report citing an unnamed Palestinian official, Hamas - a terrorist group ruling Gaza - demanded that Israel free the some 400 people it detained on Friday, stop "provocative visits" to Al-Aqsa mosque by Jewish groups, and end military incursions into West Bank cities. 

In a sign of lowering tensions, Israel released all but 100 of those detained, Palestinians said.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, referring to the violence in the holy compound, said it "holds Israel fully and directly responsible for this crime and its consequences."

Last year, nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police during the Muslim fasting month and a land dispute in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah ignited an 11-day war in Gaza that saw Hamas launch thousands of rockets on southern Israel, killing 13 people in Israel. The death toll in the coastal Palestinian enclave was in excess of 250. 

In recent years, Egypt has emerged as a reliable mediator between Jerusalem and the Gaza-based Islamists of Hamas.

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