Clashes at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa on eve of Jewish New year

2015-09-13 22:27
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stands in front of the Dome of the Rock during a visit by a group of religious Jews to the Al-Aqsa mosques compound under Israeli police protection in Jerusalem's Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli, AFP)

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stands in front of the Dome of the Rock during a visit by a group of religious Jews to the Al-Aqsa mosques compound under Israeli police protection in Jerusalem's Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli, AFP)

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Jerusalem - A number of injuries were reported on Sunday as Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers clashed at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque on the eve of the Jewish New Year.

Muslim youths, some masked, spent the night armed with rocks and fireworks inside the mosque, located on the flashpoint Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary platform, in an effort to prevent Jews from visiting the disputed holy site for the Rosh Hashana holiday, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

But police stormed the compound after dawn, in a bid to surprise the youths inside. 

The youths, taking cover inside the mosque behind barricades made of shoe racks and other items, hurled dozens of rocks, concrete blocks and fireworks at the police, who used stun grenades and worked to remove the barricades and close the mosque doors to stop the stone-throwing.

Suspected pipe bombs were also found at the entrance to the mosque, she said.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan accused the protesters of "turning a holy site into a combat zone of rock-throwing" of violating a decades-old status quo at the holy site, which allows Jews to visit, but not pray at the holy site.

Many Muslims object to Jewish access to the religious site known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The area that houses the mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam, but it is also the site of the ruins of the Biblical Jewish temple and is the most sacred site in Judaism.

A 2000 visit by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon triggered the outbreak of a five-year cycle of bloody violence known as the second Palestinian uprising, or the Aqsa Intifada.

Read more on:    israel  |  religion

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