Palestinians clash with Israeli police near Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem (VIDEO)
Israeli police have deployed stun grenades to disperse rock-throwing Palestinian protesters, who were trying to prevent Jews from praying on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on one of their most important holidays.
Violence erupted on Sunday morning as Jewish worshippers were visiting the Temple Mount on the day of Tisha B'Av – a day of mourning for two Biblical temples destroyed in Jerusalem in the past
Palestinians attempted to block access to the religious site, using movable barricades, a police spokeswoman said, as cited by Reuters. Once police began to dismantle them, officers were attacked with stones, flares and pieces of metal.
Police responded with generous quantities of stun grenades and pushed the protesters back. In the end, the Palestinians took refuge inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which police eventually entered.
Israeli border police entered al-Aqsa Mosque this morning during clashes coinciding w/the Jewish holiday of Tish b'Av pic.twitter.com/3f3gMJO5lv— Allison Deger (@allissonCD) July 26, 2015
There have been no serious injuries reported on either side, yet the standoff on Sunday morning was highly emotional and loud. Israeli police officers pushed protesters around, while Palestinian women bawled and gesticulated wildly at them.
The situation on the Temple Mount in Old Jerusalem occupied by Israel since 1967 has been tense for years. Muslims do not want Jews to pray near the Noble Sanctuary, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third most sacred site.
READ MORE: Muslim women, Israeli settlers and the struggle for Al-Aqsa Mosque
After the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured East Jerusalem, Jews were restricted from praying on the Al-Aqsa plaza. Today, Jewish ultranationalists are pushing Israeli authorities to allow prayer on the compound outside Al-Aqsa, which stands above the Western Wall, something that irks Jerusalem’s Muslims severly.
READ MORE: Israel mulls bill to outlaw Muslim ‘guards’ at Al-Aqsa Mosque – report
Once Israeli police had maintained order on the streets around Al-Aqsa, a right-wing member of the Israeli cabinet reportedly visited the compound to mark Tisha B'Av.
Both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities regard Jerusalem as their capital. Israel wants to make Jerusalem its indivisible capital while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem.
READ MORE: What the de-Palestinization of Jerusalem is really like