VATICAN – Pope Francis on Sunday called for an end to clashes in Jerusalem.
Stating that he is monitoring the developments in Jerusalem anxiously, he urged the stakeholders to seek solutions while respecting the Holy City.
"Holy City's multi-religious and multi-cultural identity should be respected. Violence breeds violence, stop clashes," he told pilgrims gathered at Saint Peter's Square in Rome.
Palestinians in recent days have protested in solidarity with residents of East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood amid clashes with Israeli police.
The protests came as the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem approved a decision to evict seven Palestinian families from their homes in favor of Israeli settlers at the beginning of this year.
Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Friday evening, using stun grenades and gas bombs. Women were also targeted by Israeli forces, according to witnesses.
At least 290 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since Friday, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community. (Anadolu)