Gaza, Apr 15 (IANS): Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza marked the International Quds Day with protests against Israeli police raids into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam.
Raising Palestinian flags and displaying the image of the Al-Aqsa mosque, protestors grouped across the besieged Palestinian enclave and chanted slogans slamming "Israeli violations against Jerusalem and the Palestinian worshippers in the area".
Quds Day is a pro-Palestinian event initiated by Iran in 1979 and observed annually on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which falls on April 14 this year.
During a demonstration, senior Popular Front party official Louay al-Qaryouti delivered a speech on behalf of Palestinian factions, in which he called for unified Arab and Islamic efforts to confront Israel's occupation and stay committed to the Palestinian cause, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Gaza-ruling Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said in a statement that "Quds Day represents an opportunity to unify efforts in support of the steadfastness of the Jerusalemites, the stationed, and the defenders of the holiest place".
Earlier in the month, the Israeli forces carried out raids for two consecutive days on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, firing teargas canisters and stun grenades to disperse Palestinian worshipers.
The Israeli raids came during a sensitive time when Muslims are observing the holy month of Ramadan with prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while Jews were commemorating the Passover holiday.
The raids were condemned by countries in the Middle East and triggered an escalation of conflicts along Israel's borders.