Israeli police enter Al Aqsa Mosque compound amid tensions

The police said they entered to facilitate the routine visit of Jews to the holy site, alleging that Palestinians had set up barriers in anticipation of violence.

Israeli police have entered the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, two days after clashes with Palestinians.

The police cleared Palestinians out of the sprawling esplanade outside the mosque itself early on Sunday, while dozens of worshippers remained inside the building.

The police said they were committed to facilitating freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims.

But shortly afterward, Palestinians reported brief clashes with Israeli police, just outside the mosque compound.

Palestinian medics said 10 people were wounded.Police also said Palestinians had attacked buses in occupied east Jerusalem.

A number of buses, which appeared to be carrying Jewish visitors, were damaged and police said some passengers were lightly hurt. It said they arrested two suspects and were searching for others

The site is the third holiest in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. It has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Tensions have soared in recent weeks amid a series of deadly attacks in Israel and deadly Israeli military raids across the occupied West Bank.

Friday violence

Clashes erupted at the site before dawn on Friday after police said Palestinians had hurled stones toward the Western Wall, an adjacent Jewish holy site.

Police entered in force and clashed with dozens of Palestinians shortly after dawn prayers.

Later, Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and Gaza rallied to protest the Israeli police operation that left 153 Palestinians injured.

Many of them were wounded by rubber-coated bullets or stun grenades or beaten with batons.

The escalation of violence comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and ahead of the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, an overlap that can further heighten tensions around sacred sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Last year, similar violence by the Israeli troops and illegal settlers at the Al Aqsa Mosque set off a devastating 11-day Israeli assault on besieged Gaza that killed more than 250 Palestinians in Gaza and 13 people in Israel.

Source: TRT World

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