JERUSALEM—At least 57 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Friday, Palestinian medics said, the latest outbreak in a recent upsurge of violence at a site revered by Muslims and Jews alike.
Israeli police said they intervened when hundreds of people hurled rocks and fireworks and drew close to the Western Wall, where Jewish worship was underway. A policewoman was injured by a stone and a tree was set alight by the fireworks, police said.
Reuters witnesses said police entered the compound after the morning Ramadan prayers and fired rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades at a crowd, some of whom were throwing rocks. Police also used a drone to drop tear gas, the mosque director said.
An upsurge of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in recent weeks has raised fears of a relapse into a broader conflict, like last year’s Gaza war.
Since March Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians in West Bank raids, the Palestinian health ministry said, and a series of deadly Arab street attacks have killed 14 people in Israel, Israeli police and medics said.
Last Friday, more than 150 Palestinians and several Israeli police officers were injured in similar clashes at Al-Aqsa, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said.
Tensions this year have been heightened in part by the Muslim month of Ramadan coinciding with the Jewish celebration of Passover, which brings more Muslim and Jewish visitors to the compound, the holiest in Judaism.
Palestinians accuse Israel of restricting Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa mosque, situated at a compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount, while not doing enough to enforce a long-standing ban on Jewish prayer there. Israel rejects this accusation.
As in previous years, Israel is halting Jewish visits during the final days of Ramadan, starting Friday, an Israeli official said. Traditionally, Muslim attendance at the compound increases during the final days of the fasting month.
Al-Aqsa compound sits atop the Old City plateau of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured and annexed in a 1967 war.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.