Brief clashes erupted yesterday between Israeli police and Palestinians at Al Aqsa mosque over visits by Jews to the compound.
No serious injuries were reported in what police described as stone throwing early in the day by several youngsters who it said were then dispersed.
Palestinian officials said police forcefully evacuated worshippers to clear the way for Jewish visitors and fired rubber-coated bullets during the confrontation in one of the most sensitive venues in the conflict.
All was quiet by the time Muslim noon prayers were held, but the incident drew condemnation by the Palestinian Authority, which administers limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli media reports put the number of Jewish visitors who walked through the Jerusalem plaza at around 1,300.
In a statement, the Palestinian Authority said it held “the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the escalation resulting from the Israeli incursion in the Al Aqsa mosque complex in occupied Jerusalem”. The Authority called the Jewish visits provocative and a “serious threat to “security and stability”. After the spate of violence, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett directed that Jewish visits there “continue, while maintaining order at the site”, an official statement said.
Israeli police monitor and regulate Jewish visits to the flashpoint plaza. Muslims refer to the compound, where Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock shrine are located, as the Noble Sanctuary. The area is in Jerusalem’s walled Old City and part of the territory Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war. Violence there led in part to an 11-day Israel-Gaza
war in May.
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