Israeli police storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, many injured
By Nathan Morley
Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday.
This site in Jerusalem’s Old City saw frenzied scenes as 150 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police after dawn prayers.
The Palestinian news media reported many were injured by rubber-coated bullets; stun grenades, and beatings with truncheons.
After the clashes, the Israeli police said that they moved into the mosque to disperse a crowd of Palestinians who had been hurling firecrackers and rocks.
At least three police officers were hurt, according to security services, whilst hundreds of Palestinians were detained.
The police and army in Israel have been on high alert after a series of deadly Arab street attacks throughout the country over the past fortnight.
Tensions this year have increased in part by Ramadan coinciding with the Jewish celebration of Passover.
The holy site – which sits in the heart of old Jerusalem - is revered by Jews as the holiest site in Judaism, and known to Muslims as one of the three holiest sites in Islam.
In a message to the press, the Palestinian Authority condemned the Israeli actions, and the Jordanian news agency, Petra, reported authorities in Amman described it as a ‘flagrant violation’.
Late on Friday, a large group gathered outside a mosque near the Israeli embassy in Jordan to show their solidarity with Palestinian people.
Violence has flared at this site dozens of times of the past few years.
Separately, Washington says is deeply concerned by violence. In a statement, spokesperson Ned Price called on all sides to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and rhetoric, and ‘preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount’.