Mon, Aug 12, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Muslims clash with police at holy site in Jerusalem


Muslim worshipers and police clashed yesterday at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Palestinian medics said that at least 14 people were wounded, one seriously, in the skirmishes with police at the site, which Muslims refer to as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.

Police said that at least four officers were wounded.

Witnesses said that at least two people were arrested.

Tens of thousands of Muslims had flocked to the site in Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday for holiday prayers, police said.

Sunday was also the Ninth of Av, the Jewish day of mourning for the destruction of the two Biblical temples that stood at the site in antiquity.

It is the holiest site for Jews and the third-holiest for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It has long been a flashpoint at the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Large numbers of Palestinians had gathered at the gates of the compound early in the morning after rumors circulated that police would allow Jewish visitors to enter the site.

The protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) and threw stones at police, who then charged into the compound while firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

Police had initially barred entry to Jewish visitors, but reversed their decision after the clashes broke out and allowed them to enter.

Several dozen entered the site under close police escort and Muslim worshipers began throwing chairs and other objects at the group.

The Jewish visitors left the compound shortly thereafter.

Jews are barred from praying at the compound under a longstanding arrangement between Israel and Muslim authorities. Jewish tradition also maintains that Jews should avoid entering the holy site.


In a separate incident, Israeli troops killed a Palestinian gunman after he allegedly opened fire on them from across the perimeter fence around the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said that an “armed terrorist” approached the frontier early in the day and opened fire toward troops on the other side, who responded by shooting at the attacker.

The army said that a tank also targeted a nearby military post operated by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza identified the deceased as 26-year-old Marwan Nasser.

It was not clear if he was a member of an armed group and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

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