Clashes between Muslim and Israeli police force on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

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Clashes broke out between Muslim protesters and Israeli police forces on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount holy site on Sunday, during a period of peak religious tensions over the overlap of Jewish and Muslim holy days.

At least 61 Muslim worshipers were injured in the clashes, according to the Red Crescent. At least four officers were also lightly-to-moderately wounded, The Times of Israel reported police saying.

CNBC reports that Israeli authorities said that tens of thousands flooded the holy site to participate in prayers marking the beginning of Eid al-Adha, with clashes breaking out after protesters began crowding around the only gate where non-Muslims can enter the compound. Israeli Police said Muslim worshippers started throwing stones and chairs at officers who were guarding the entrance to the site, which Muslims refer to as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.

Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in response. Some 37 Muslims were injured in the clashes, according to the Red Crescent. Israeli authorities said four officers were lightly injured in the skirmishes.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry slammed Israel on Sunday for using force against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Jerusalem holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount, after clashes erupted there between the Israel Police and Muslim worshipers earlier in the day. “We completely condemn Israel’s violations of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Jordanian FM Ayman Safadi tweeted. “The occupation authorities’ absurd actions and attempts to change the status quo in occupied Jerusalem will only lead to the conflict being exacerbated and the situation blowing up, threatening international peace and security. We call on the international community to assume its responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its violations.”

Reporting from East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett said tensions at the site been rising for some time. “The gate was opened, but no non-Muslims were allowed in. There was this big standoff and then we saw the security forces move in to clear that standoff,” Fawcett said. “That’s when we saw the police use rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades,” he added. “There is a big political movement from the far right in Israeli politics to get more access to the area, and potentially to pray there in the future, and that is what is behind the tension,” Fawcett said.

In another report, The Times of Israel said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing allies accused him of being responsible for the decision to temporary close the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors on Sunday during a tense overlap of Jewish and Muslim holidays.

The Jerusalem police chief, however, said it was he who ordered the closure.

via CNBC  / Times of Israel  / Al Jazeera 

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