Israeli forces use tear gas in clashes with Palestinian worshipers at Temple Mount
Images posted on social media showed some people injured in the wake of the confrontation. Footage from the scene showed police moving through the area with loud noises from flashbangs and white clouds dispersing in the air.
The clashes at the site worshiped by both Muslims and Jews happened after some 80,000 Muslims gathered on the Temple Mount to celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the key holy days of Islam.
Simultaneously, large crowds of Jewish worshipers gathered at the entrance as they wanted to mark the second day of Tisha Be’av holy day. They were barred from entering by police, in order to prevent potential altercations.
The decision was criticized by some Jewish groups, who described it as bowing down to terrorism. A large banner showing a purported Hamas fighter as well as Mohamed Morsi, the former president of Egypt and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was hung at the entrance to the Temple Mount area.
There were rumors among the Muslims that some radical Jews were planning to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday. After the morning prayers, announcers called on the Muslim worshipers to remain at the site and block all entrances to the area for the Jews. The Israeli police intervened after violence between the two crowds reportedly erupted.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 61 people were injured in the clashes while 15 of them were taken to local hospitals. Police said that four officers sustained minor injuries. Access to the Temple Mount was later granted to some Jewish worshipers.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and is one of the key holidays in Islam. Tisha B’Av is the two-day mourning for destruction of the two Jerusalem temples and, by extension, other calamities that happened to the Jewish people.
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