BEIRUT

Middle East

Police clash with protesters at Jerusalem Al-Aqsa mosque

Palestinian men scuffle with Israeli police at an alleyway leading to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on February 25, 2014 in the Old City of Jerusalem. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli police Tuesday entered the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters, a police spokesman said.

The clashes came as parliament was to debate a bill calling for Israeli sovereignty over the compound, Islam's third-holiest site, which is currently administered by Jordan.

Police used stun grenades to disperse the Palestinians, Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that there was "high tension" ahead of discussions expected in the Israeli parliament later Tuesday of a plan to annex the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

He added that stones thrown by the Palestinians injured two policemen while three protesters were arrested.

Palestinian medics said 15 protesters were injured by rubber bullets.

"Police remain deployed at the Temple Mount and visits by tourists are continuing," Rosenfeld said.

The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, is due to debate in the evening a bill introduced by MP Moshe Feiglin, a hardline member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, which envisages the "application of Israeli sovereignty" over the compound.

No vote is envisaged at the end of debate. Netanyahu is opposed to the bill and commentators say it is unlikely to attract much support.

The Al-Aqsa compound, which lies in Jerusalem's Old City, is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews.

Sitting above the Western Wall plaza, it houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque and is Islam's third-holiest site.

It is also Judaism's holiest place, as it was the site of the first and second Jewish temples.

The site is in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem but administered by Muslim religious authorities.

Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Under a 1994 peace treaty, Jordan retained authority over all Muslim sites in Jerusalem.

 

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Summary

Israeli police Tuesday entered the sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters, a police spokesman said.

Police used stun grenades to disperse the Palestinians, Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that there was "high tension" ahead of discussions expected in the Israeli parliament later Tuesday of a plan to annex the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

He added that stones thrown by the Palestinians injured two policemen while three protesters were arrested.


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