Israel launched airstrikes and artillery attacks on Syria in response to rocket fire from militants based in the neighboring country. The attack came amidst heightened tensions at a volatile shrine in Jerusalem, where simultaneous religious rituals occurred.
Thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered at the Western Wall, while hundreds of Palestinians performed prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, above the Western Wall. Israeli police guarded the area as hundreds of Jewish visitors also entered the Al-Aqsa compound, which is viewed with suspicion by many Palestinians who fear that Israel plans to take over the site.
Israeli officials say they have no intention of changing the long-standing arrangements that allow Jews to visit, but not pray, in the Muslim-administered site. Tensions have increased since an Israeli police raid on the mosque last week, with Palestinians barricading themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque on several occasions.
The violence at the shrine triggered rocket fire by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, prompting Israeli airstrikes in both areas. On Saturday and Sunday, militants in Syria also fired rockets toward Israel and the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Israel responded with artillery fire and fighter jet attacks on Syrian army sites.
According to The Associated Press, over 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, with at least half affiliated with militant groups. Palestinian attacks on Israelis have killed 19 people in that time, with all but one being civilians. The current government in Israel is the most right-wing in its history, with ultra-nationalists in senior positions.