After days of violence, Jerusalem prayers end peacefully



Ramadan prayers and Jewish Passover visits at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound passed without incident on Sunday, after days of tension at the flashpoint Jerusalem site which led to cross-border exchanges of fire.

Small groups of Jewish visitors under heavy police presence walked through the mosque compound, known in Judaism as Temple Mount, as thousands of worshipers gathered for the Passover holiday's special "Priestly Blessing" at the Western Wall below.

There were no reports of casualties.

The Al-Aqsa compound – sacred to Muslims and Jews – has been at the center of a security crisis set off last week when Israeli police raided the mosque to dislodge what they said were youths barricaded inside armed with rocks and fireworks.

Footage of the raid, showing police beating worshipers, triggered a furious reaction across the Arab world, sparking rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian factions that were met with Israeli strikes on sites in Gaza, south Lebanon and Syria.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday also called on Muslim states to form a "united and consistent" front in support of the Palestinians against Israel.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's armed Shiite movement Hezbollah, met with Palestinian Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Lebanon, the group said on Sunday, and discussed the Al-Aqsa events.

Israeli security experts have said that Iran-backed Hezbollah likely gave its permission to Islamist Hamas to fire the rockets from Lebanon.

"Our enemies were wrong when they thought that Israel's citizens were not united in support for the IDF (Israel Defense Forces)," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who is facing unprecedented protests at home against judicial changes – said in a statement.