Israeli forces use rubber bullets at mosque, 15 injured

2014-02-25 14:00
Palestinian men scuffle with Israeli police at an alleyway leading to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Ahmad Gharabli, AFP)

Palestinian men scuffle with Israeli police at an alleyway leading to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Ahmad Gharabli, AFP)

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Jerusalem - Israeli police on Tuesday entered the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City and dispersed protesters with rubber bullets, Palestinian medics say.

The clashes came as parliament was to debate a bill calling for Israeli sovereignty over the compound, Islam's third-holiest site, which is currently administered by Jordan.

Police used stun grenades to disperse the Palestinians, Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that there was "high tension" ahead of discussions expected in the Israeli parliament later on Tuesday of a plan to annex the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

He added that stones thrown by the Palestinians injured two policemen while three protesters were arrested.

Palestinian medics said 15 protesters were injured by rubber bullets.

"Police remain deployed at the Temple Mount and visits by tourists are continuing," Rosenfeld said.

The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, is due to debate in the evening a bill introduced by MP Moshe Feiglin, a hardline member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, which envisages the "application of Israeli sovereignty" over the compound.

No vote is envisaged at the end of debate. Netanyahu is opposed to the bill and commentators say it is unlikely to attract much support.

The Al-Aqsa compound, which lies in Jerusalem's Old City, is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews.

Sitting above the Western Wall plaza, it houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque and is Islam's third-holiest site.

It is also Judaism's holiest place, as it was the site of the first and second Jewish temples.

The site is in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem but administered by Muslim religious authorities.

Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Under a 1994 peace treaty, Jordan retained authority over all Muslim sites in Jerusalem.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  palestine  |  middle east peace
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