Israeli forces on Sunday stormed in Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa compound after dozens of Palestinians hurled stones and firecrackers at police officers, Israeli officials said.
The clashes took place shortly after the site, holy to both Muslims and Jews, was opened to Jewish visitors on the occasion of the Ninth of Av, a fast day, in which Jews commemorate the destruction of their first and second Jewish Temples.
The al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and the most holy site for Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount and revere it as the site of their second temple, which was destroyed in 70 A.D..
A police spokesperson said in a statement that early on Sunday morning that “masked Palestinian youths barricaded themselves in the Temple Mount, throwing stones and firecrackers at police forces.”
In order to prevent further escalation, “a police force entered a number of meters inside (the al-Aqsa compound) and closed the doors to the mosque with the rioters inside, restoring order,” the spokesperson said, adding that several police officers were injured.
Overnight Saturday, the police increased its presence at the compound after a video showing a Jewish woman insulting the Prophet Muhammad going viral and enraging Muslims in the city.
Tensions around the flashpoint al-Aqsa compound were spiking in the last year over visits of parliament members and far-right Jewish activists to the site, in attempt to lift the current restrictions which allow Jews to visit the site but not to pray. Enditem