JERUSALEM (AP) – At least 50 Palestinians have been hospitalized after being injured in clashes with Israeli police at a holy site in Jerusalem, Palestinian doctors have said. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades, some of which landed in Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
Israeli police said the Palestinians threw stones, chairs and other objects at police officers.
Amateur video footage posted on social media showed police stun grenades and tear gas inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque during skirmishes between Palestinian officers and rioters. THIS IS A MAJOR UPDATE TO BREAKING NEWS. THE ORIGINAL AP STORY IS BELOW
Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters at a holy site in Jerusalem, the latest in a series of clashes that have pushed the disputed city to the brink of eruption.
The latest violence in the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque came after days of growing tension between Palestinians and Israeli authorities in Jerusalem’s Old City, the emotional zero point of the conflict. Hundreds of Palestinians and around 20 police officers have been injured in recent days.
On Monday morning, police fired tear gas and stun grenades and protesters threw stones and other objects at the police. Police said protesters threw stones from the mosque compound onto an adjacent road. The Palestinians said police fired stun grenades into the compound.
Firas Dibs, a spokesman for the Islamic Authority, or Waqf, managing the site, said dozens of people were injured. The Palestinian Red Crescent said three people were taken to hospital.
The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site in Islam. The compound is the epicenter of the conflict and has been the trigger for series of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the past.
The UN Security Council on Monday scheduled closed consultations on rising tensions in Jerusalem. Diplomats said the meeting was requested by Tunisia, the Arab representative on the council.
Previously, police had banned Jews from entering the Al-Aqsa compound on Monday, which Israelis mark as Jerusalem Day with a flag parade through the Old City and its Muslim Quarter. The marchers celebrate the capture and annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War.
The police decision to temporarily ban Jewish visitors to the holy site came hours before the start of the Jerusalem Day March which is widely seen by Palestinians as a provocative display of Jewish hegemony over the contested city.
Police allowed the parade to take place despite growing fears it could escalate the tension.
This year, the march coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a time of heightened religious sensitivity, and follows weeks of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem.