Jerusalem: Clashes at holy site leave several injured


With tensions high due to a Muslim and Jewish holiday falling on the same day, Israeli police are on alert.

Israeli security forces scuffle with Palestinians at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019.

Revered by Jews as Temple Mount, the site of two biblical Jewish temples, and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the area is one of the most sensitive sites in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian Red Crescent, meanwhile, said that 37 Palestinian were injured after Israeli forces attacked the worshippers with rubber bullets, teargas and truncheons.

Police lead the arrested man from the scene.

Palestinian organisations had called on Muslims to perform Eid prayers in Al-Aqsa on Sunday after Jewish groups announced plans to storm the compound to mark the Jewish holiday.

During the night, thousands of Jewish worshipers visited the Western Wall, the closest spot to the Temple Mount where Jews can pray, to read Lamentations and other traditional Tisha B'av liturgy. Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount", claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

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They were receiving the necessary medical treatment in specialised facilities, it said. The Defence Ministry has said back then that two people were killed in the accident .

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and declared the whole city as its eternal indivisible capital in 1980, but the move has never been recognized by most of the global community.

In a bid to ease tensions, police initially barred Jewish visits to the site on Sunday but Muslim worshippers still feared they would be allowed in and protested there.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli police prevented settlers from storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli media reported.

Sunday marks Tisha B'av, the Jewish memorial day for the destruction of the First and Second Temples, which according to Jewish tradition were destroyed on the same day 585 years apart.

Jews can visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

Sunday's incidents come only weeks ahead of Israel's September 17 elections, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is widely seen as wanting to maintain calm.

On Saturday, Israel's army said troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians on the Gaza border, adding one had managed to cross and throw a grenade at soldiers.