Israeli police reopen Al-Aqsa after clashes
Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protestors after police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque trying to remove protestors who staged a sit in there, Al Arabiya News Channel correspondent reported.
Demonstrators threw stones at Israeli police who entered “several meters” inside the mosque to remove blockages set up by the protesters in order to lock them inside, police spokeswoman Luba Samri was quoted as saying by AFP.
Omar Alkeswani, a Palestinian manager of al-Aqsa, said police entered the mosque and that 20 people were wounded in the clash, Reuters news agency reported.
“Police entered the area, pushed the masked rioters back, and they fled back into al Aqsa. Police closed the front gate of the mosque but did not enter,” Micky Rosenfeld, another police spokesman, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Israeli forces reopened entrance to the mosque after blocking it briefly following clashes, the Al Arabiya correspondent reported.
Jerusalem has been experiencing escalating tensions since the shooting of a prominent right-wing Israeli Jewish activist by a suspected Palestinian gunman who was consequently fatally shot by police.
Palestinians are weary of a change of the quo governing the al-Aqsa complex, revered by both Muslims and Jews, as right-wing Jewish hardliners demand to be able to pray inside the mosque compound.
A recent announcement to expand Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognized internationally, was another catalyst in the Jerusalem clashes.