More than 20 Israelis and Palestinians were wounded on Sunday in several incidents in and around Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, two days after major violence at the site. The latest clashes take the number of wounded since Friday to more than 170, at a tense time when the Jewish Passover festival coincides with Ramadan. They also follow deadly violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank in late March and early this month that has killed 36 people.
Early on Sunday morning, “hundreds” of Palestinian demonstrators inside the mosque compound started gathering piles of stones, shortly before the arrival of Jewish visitors, police said. Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray at the site, also known as Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism and third-holiest in Islam. The police said its forces had entered the compound in order to “remove” the demonstrators and “re-establish order”.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 19 Palestinians were wounded, including at least five who were hospitalised. It said some had been wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets. An AFP team near the entrance to the compound early Sunday morning saw barefoot Jewish worshippers leaving the site, protected by heavily armed police.
Outside the Old City, in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, Palestinian youths threw rocks at passing buses, resulting in seven people being treated for light wounds at Shaare Zedek hospital, the medical facility said. Video released by the police showed two Israeli buses, their windscreens and side windows smashed in, driving down a road near the Old City as young men showered them with rocks. The police said they had arrested 18 Palestinians.