Israeli police storm al-Aqsa mosque compound amid tensions

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Israeli police stormed the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Sunday, with at least 10 people injured during the ensuing clashes…reports AsianLite News

Early on Sunday, Israeli police forces dispersed Palestinians from the large plaza outside the mosque, while dozens remained inside and chanted “God is great”, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement issued by the police.

The police said they entered the compound to clear rocks and other barriers stockpiled by Palestinians overnight on the sidewalk used by Jews to visit the site. The police are “committed to facilitating freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims,” the statement read.

Shortly later, Palestinians reported clashes outside the mosque, in which at least ten people were injured by Israeli security forces, according to a statement issued by the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Israeli police said the clashes began after Palestinians inside the mosque tossed fireworks at the plaza.

Furthermore on Sunday in East Jerusalem, Palestinians hurled stones at buses en route to the Old City, where the al-Aqsa mosque compound is located. Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency health service said in a statement that at least five Jews were lightly injured, including a 14-year-old boy and the bus driver.

Two Palestinian suspects were arrested for hurling the stones, the police said.

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The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint site holy to both Muslims and Jews. It is located in East Jerusalem, a territory captured by Israel along with the rest of the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel annexed it shortly later in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with the Israeli police at the compound.

Escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over the past three weeks — including four deadly attacks in Israel, some of them carried out by Palestinian citizens of Israel — raised fears of a slide back into a broader conflict.