Hamas commander warns Israel over occupied East Jerusalem attacks

The armed wing of the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has issued a warning to Israel over its attacks against Palestinian residents in occupied East Jerusalem, saying Israel will pay a “heavy price” for its actions.

“The Qassam Brigades will not stand idly by in the face of attacks on the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood,” Mohammed Deif, the brigades commander, said in a written statement on Tuesday night.

“They will pay a heavy price if the aggression against our people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood does not stop immediately,” he said, adding they are closely following developments.

Deif, who has been on Israel’s wanted list for years, praised the “steadfast people” in Sheikh Jarrah, who are facing imminent forced displacement from their homes.The neighbourhood was raided by Israeli forces for the second night on Tuesday. The residents and solidarity protesters were sprayed with skunk water, a chemically enhanced type of sewage water, and were physically assaulted.

Several Palestinians were arrested, including Tala Obeid, Omar al-Khatib and Mahmoud Nabil al-Kurd, whose family faces displacement from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Al-Kurd along with another Palestinian was released on Wednesday morning, but the detention of al-Khatib, a local activist, has been extended.

Mustafa Barghouti, the head of the Palestinian National Initiative party, told Al Jazeera that what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah is a “process of ethnic cleansing”.

“This is a war crime against the [Palestinian] population of Jerusalem,” he said, speaking from the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

“This act of ethnic cleansing is nothing but a reflection on the racist policies that Israel is following and the system of apartheid that is consolidated not only in Jerusalem but in the occupied Palestinian territories in general.”

He called on the international community to interfere and pressure Israel from ending its “systematic approach” of eliminating the Palestinian presence from the city.

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