Israel military: Four Palestinian militants killed on Gaza border

Four Palestinian militants killed on Gaza border - Israel military

Israeli troops killed four Palestinians who the army said had attempted to cross the Gaza border on Saturday.

The site is the holiest for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, and has always been a flashpoint at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan's office said on Sunday that 1,729 Jews had entered the Temple Mount earlier in the day, compared with 1,440 previous year on Tisha B'Av.

The Muslim celebrations coincided with the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'av, which sees an increase in Jewish visits to the Al-Aqsa compound.

"The occupation is responsible for the state of anger and pressure inflicted on our people due to the continued siege on Gaza", he said in a statement.

Palestinian organisations had called on Muslims to perform Eid prayers in Al-Aqsa on Sunday after Jewish groups announced plans to storm the compound to mark the Jewish holiday.

The reversal came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's religious nationalist allies called for the site to be opened to Jewish visitors.

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Palestinians said 40 Muslim worshipers were injured, including PLO Executive Committee member Adnan Husseini, who previously served as Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, and Abdel Azim Salhab, Chairman of the Wakf Council in east Jerusalem. Jewish tradition also maintains that Jews should avoid entering the holy site.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have spiked following President Donald Trump's decision in 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the U.S. Embassy there.

A Hamas spokesman says four Palestinian militants who were killed crossing the Gaza perimeter fence were engaging in "an individual act", stressing that the operation was not planned by Hamas.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility.

The Israeli military posted a salute on social media this week to the female IDF soldier who spotted four armed Arab terrorists infiltrating into Israeli territory from Gaza to carry out an attack on nearby civilian Jewish communities.

"We hold Hamas responsible and accountable for any acts of violence emanating from the Gaza Strip whether they were Hamas operatives or not", he said at a briefing with reporters.

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