67 Palestinians Wounded As Clashes Erupts In Jerusalem
- Clashes broke out between Israeli police and Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
- There was no immediate comment from Israeli authorities.
- Tensions have soared as series of attacks by Palestinians killed 14 people inside Israel.
Jerusalem: Clashes broke out early Friday between Israeli police and Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a major holy site in Jerusalem, and medics said at least 59 Palestinians were wounded. The Islamic endowment that administers the site said Israeli police entered in force before dawn, as thousands of worshippers were gathered at the mosque for early morning prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.
Israel said its forces entered to remove rocks and stones that had been gathered in anticipation of violence. Videos circulating online showed Palestinians hurling rocks and police firing tear gas and stun grenades. Others showed worshippers barricading themselves inside the mosque itself amid what appeared to be clouds of tear gas. The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said it evacuated 67 wounded people to hospitals.
The endowment said one of the guards at the site was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet. The Israeli foreign ministry said dozens of masked men carrying Palestinian and Hamas flags marched to the compound early Friday and gathered stones. “Police were forced to enter the grounds to disperse the crowd and remove the stones and rocks, in order to prevent further violence,” it tweeted.
The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. It is built on a hilltop that is the most sacred site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. It has been a major flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence for decades. Tensions have soared in recent weeks following a series of attacks by Palestinians that killed 14 people inside Israel. Israel has carried out a wave of arrests and military operations in the occupied West Bank, setting off clashes in which several Palestinians have been killed.