Israeli police enter al-Aqsa compound

Stun grenades used to disperse protesters during clashes following weeks of religious tension in Jerusalem's Old City.

    Israeli police enter al-Aqsa compound
    Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is one of Islam's holiest sites [AFP]

    Israeli police have entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem's Old City and hurled stun grenades to disperse dozens of protesters who threw stones at them.

    The raid on Friday followed several days of clashes at the mosque, police and witnesses said. Some witnesses said police had also used tear gas.

    Shortly afterwards, Jordan criticised Israeli police, saying that Israel's policies seek to "ignite religious violence" in the region.

    "Jordan condemns the raid on the mosque compound as well as attacking unarmed worshippers," Samih Maayatah, information minister and government spokesman, said in a statement on Friday carried by state-run Petra news agency.

    "Israel's policies against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem seek to ignite religious violence in the region."

    He demanded that the international community "stop such violations".

    Two people were slightly injured and one person was arrested for attempting to stab a policeman as he was being taken into custody, Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesman, said.

    The scuffles broke out after days of tension at the compound, which is referred to as Haram al-Sharif by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews.

    The mosque is part of a site revered by Muslims as well as Jews, and is a frequent source of friction between these
    religious groups.

    Tensions flared this week after police arrested Israeli Palestinians who tried to hold prayers at the compound.

    Deadly riots erupted at the same site after a visit by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, at the outset of a several year Palestinian uprising in 2000.

    Since the 1967 war in which Israel seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the kingdom has continued to act as custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

    In 1994, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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