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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Sravasti Dasgupta

Palestinians clash with police after protest at holy site, with 150 wounded

Palestinians shout slogans following clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem's Old City yesterday. Photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters

Clashes broke out yesterday morning after Israeli police entered the Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem, with medics saying at least 152 Palestinians were wounded.

Police entered the compound shortly before dawn, said the administrators of the site – also known as Al-Aqsa – as thousands of worshippers gathered at the mosque for early morning prayers two weeks into the holy month of Ramadan.

Police said about two hours earlier dozens of young people began to march in the area, carrying flags of both Hamas as well as Palestine.

They also threw stones and fireworks and began piling up rocks and other objects to prepare for further clashes.

“Police were forced to enter the grounds to disperse the crowd and remove the stones and rocks, in order to prevent further violence,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Police said the group threw stones during morning prayers and officers only went in to disperse the group after prayers ended.

The group then threw stones at the Western Wall, which is located below the Temple Mount compound.

Videos of the clashes being shared online appeared to show worshippers barricading themselves inside the Al-Aqsa mosque itself amid what appeared to be clouds of tear gas. Other footage showed Palestinians hurling rocks and police firing tear gas and stun grenades.

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said it evacuated 152 wounded people to hospitals. The Islamic endowment which manages the site said one of its guards was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet.

Hours after the violence, the police issued a statement. “We call on the worshippers to maintain order and observe the prayers in an orderly manner,” it said.

Prime minister Naftali Bennett held a meeting with police commissioner Kobi Shabtai and public security minister Omer Barlev at a Border Police base in Jerusalem.

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