Israeli security forces enter al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Witnesses say Israeli police used stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinians.

Israeli security forces have entered al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem amid fresh clashes in the area.

Witnesses told Al Jazeera that Sunday’s confrontation between Israeli forces and Palestinians began after officers entered the compound.

As of 7am GMT, hundreds of Palestinians had gathered outside the mosque to prevent Israeli police from going any further.

Timeline: Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Jerusalem, said police forces used stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets against the Palestinians.

“It doesn’t appear as if the clashes went far beyond the gate where police entered, nor are there reports of any injuries,” he said.

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“These confrontations at al-Aqsa Mosque come at a very tense time.

“Over the past several days, there have been frequent confrontations between Israeli security forces and Palestinian worshippers who go to the site.”

Al-Aqsa Mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Saudi Arabia’s Mecca and Medina.

In a statement to Al Jazeera, Asi Aharoni, Jerusalem police spokesperson, confirmed the reports of Sunday’s clashes as “stone-throwing and fireworks [thrown] towards the police and border police in the Temple Mount by masked youth”, the Israeli police said.

“The force pushed back the rioters using anti-riot means. The situation is under control.”

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In recent days, during the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah, there were clashes which damaged parts of the mosque.

Efforts by Israeli police to allow Jewish activists to tour the courtyards of the mosque have stirred strong reactions from Palestinians, who fear Israel may change the rules for visiting the compound.

Sunday’s violence also occurred just before the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, when many Jews visit Jerusalem.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies