Jerusalem, April 21 (IANS) Israeli police on Thursday entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem to facilitate the arrival of Jewish visitors to the flashpoint holy site, sparking new clashes, according to local media.
Israel’s state-owned Kan Reshet Bet Radio reported that “hundreds” of Jewish visitors escorted by police forces arrived in the early morning hours at the site, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews, reports Xinhua news agency.
The police said in a statement that Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the mosque and hurled firecrackers and stones at the Jewish officers.
Palestinian media reported that the police responded by firing tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets.
At least one Palestinian was injured, according to a statement by the Palestinian Red Crescent.
At least 200 Palestinians have been injured at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during clashes with Israeli forces over the past few weeks.
The disputed holy site, known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, which Israel annexed during the 1967 Middle East war.
The site has been administered by Jordan’s Muslim Waqf but secured by Israeli police.
The Israeli-Palestinian clashes in East Jerusalem and four deadly Palestinian attacks in Israeli cities in recent weeks come as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover, with thousands of Muslim worshipers and Jewish visitors arriving at the hilltop compound.