Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Palestinians clash with Israel police at Jerusalem holy site

Published:Friday | July 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Palestinian Muslims pray outside the Lion's Gate following an appeal from clerics to pray in the streets instead of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, in Jerusalem's Old City yesterday

JERUSALEM (AP):

Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces near a contested Jerusalem shrine after Muslim worshippers massed outside for evening prayers yesterday as tensions over the holy site escalated further.

Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Palestinians hurled stones and glass bottles at officers after the prayers outside the site, referred to by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it treated at least 22 people for injuries. Police said no officers were injured; they had no information about injured protesters.

The Palestinians were protesting Israel's placement of metal detectors at the entrance to the holy site after a deadly attack there last week in which three Israeli Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police officers before they were shot and killed at the entrance to the site.

Israel has defended the detectors as a necessary security measure, one it says is used routinely at holy sites around the world.

But Muslim clerics have called for mass protests at the site today unless the detectors are removed by then. International efforts have been underway to try and stave off a major conflagration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security chiefs were to discuss the situation late yesterday after he returned from visits to France and Hungary. The security services are reportedly divided over what to do about the detectors, given the rising tensions surrounding the site.

Israeli security forces are on high alert for today, when tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers typically descend on the walled compound in Jerusalem's Old City for prayers. The Palestinian militant group, Hamas, on Thursday called for a "day of rage" against the security measures.