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Renewed Clashes Erupt at Disputed Jerusalem Holy Place

  • Robert Berger

Palestinians and Israeli border police officers scuffle inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, July 27, 2017.

Fresh violence has erupted at a disputed Jerusalem holy place that is sacred to Muslims and Jews.

Palestinians clashed with Israeli police at the mosque of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem's Old City, on the site Jews call the Temple Mount.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 100 Palestinians were hurt in the confrontation, including some who were hit by rubber bullets or beaten. Several of those injured suffered broken bones, the group said.

The clashes arose after Muslim leaders in Jerusalem gave permission for their worshippers to reenter the site, which they had been boycotting over the increased security measures.

Israel set up metal detectors, security cameras and railings at the compound after Arab gunmen killed two Israeli policemen there, but the move sparked Palestinian riots. Palestinians described the measures as humiliating to Muslims, and they accused Israel of trying to seize control of the third-holiest place in Islam. They refused to enter the mosque through Israeli security and held tense prayer protests on the streets.

Israeli police officers dismantle metal detectors outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 25, 2017.
Israeli police officers dismantle metal detectors outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 25, 2017.

Earlier Thursday, it appeared that the Israeli concessions would help restore calm.

Mohammed Hussein, the mufti or Muslim spiritual leader of Jerusalem, said Israel's removal of the security devices was satisfactory; however, that failed to stop a new round of clashes.

The big test will come Friday, when thousands of Palestinians are expected for prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Muslim Sabbath. Thousands of Israeli police and soldiers will be deployed to keep order.

Jerusalem's police chief, Yoram Halevy, urged Palestinians to keep the peace, warning that there will be a harsh response to any further outbreak of violence.

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