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Israeli Police Storm Disputed Jerusalem Holy Place

Masked Palestinian youths prepare to throw stones and firecrackers at Israeli police, not seen, as they are backdropped by the Dome of the Rock Mosque, during clashes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al Amud, Sunday, 28 Feb. 2010

Police had to respond to violence that erupted at a Jerusalem landmark sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Israeli police stormed into a hotly disputed holy place in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse Palestinian stone throwers near the Mosque of Al Aksa and golden Dome of the Rock. The mosque compound is a flash point of religious tensions. It is the third holiest place in Islam, but for Jews it is the Temple Mount, the site of the biblical Temples and holiest place of all.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said security forces quickly restored order.

"There was a group of tourists that entered the Temple Mount," Rosenfeld said. "Unfortunately, masked Palestinians threw stones and rocks at them and started rioting on the Temple Mount. Immediately the police that were here at the Western Wall responded by entering the Temple Mount, and things are calm and quiet once again."

The Palestinians were protesting Israel's decision to declare two West Bank shrines as National Heritage Sites, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Palestinian spokesman Ghassan Khattib.

"Israel is escalating and provoking the Palestinians and trying to drag the Palestinian public into another cycle of violence," Khattib said.

The Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, said Israeli actions are harming international efforts to revive peace talks. The Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, took a harder line.

Hamas Religious Affairs Minister Taleb Abu Shaar called for a third Palestinian uprising to protect the Islamic holy places from the Jews.