Tensions around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount have been escalating over the past weeks, as Muslims have accused Israeli authorities of blocking access to the site during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
At least 12 people were injured in recent clashes near Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported on Friday. Reports suggest that the Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters earlier in the day.
According to to AFP, Israeli police said their officers entered the compound after “rioters” threw stones and fireworks in the area, including down towards the Western Wall, the sacred Jewish site below the mosque.
Local Muslims have been hitting the area with mass protests in the latest development of a general flare-up in tensions: Israel has recently experienced a series of gruesome terror attacks, which have resulted in major police operations in the West Bank.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, more than 340 Palestinians were injured last week alone, after Israeli police dispersed crowds of Muslims who were protesting in Jerusalem.
The row over the status of the Temple Mount has been going on for a long time, since it is considered a holy site both in Judaism and Islam. Palestinians have repeatedly alleged that the Jewish authorities have been hindering access to the Al-Aqsa mosque – particularly by allowing large numbers of Jewish visitors into the area under police escort.
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