Israeli police arrest nine as Palestinians simmer over the Jerusalem shrine

Israeli police arrest nine as Palestinians simmer over the Jerusalem shrine

Israeli police arrest nine as Palestinians simmer over the Jerusalem shrine

JERUSALEM, April 17 (Reuters) – Israeli riot police tackled Palestinians firing fireworks in the alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, as a visit by Jews to a disputed holy site fueled tensions during the Muslim holy month. of Ramadan.

Violence in the Al Aqsa mosque complex, which erupted on Friday, has raised fears of a return to a deeper conflict at the site as Ramadan coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover. Christians also celebrated Easter on Sunday in Jerusalem. Read more

Sunday’s clashes were less violent, but Israeli police said several passengers on two buses were slightly injured when stone-throwing Palestinians broke vehicle windows. Nine people were arrested, police said.

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Palestinians said Israeli police had temporarily restricted their access to the complex – which is also a vestige of ancient Jewish temples – after dawn prayers to allow for a scheduled visit of Jews who visited the site on foot under escort.

These visitors are forbidden from praying or approaching Al Aqsa, the third holiest mosque in Islam, but Palestinians see them as a provocation.

The Old City is located in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinians seek to make the capital of a future state.

“We saw two groups of them, we started singing and the (Israeli) forces tried to hold me back,” said Abu Baker Shemi, a devout Muslim from Acre, a mixed Jewish-Arab city in Israel.

Police said they took measures to prevent the visit from being disrupted by “hundreds” of protesters, some of them masked, who were seen piling up stones in the complex. Freedom of Muslim religion was preserved, police said.

Tensions over Jerusalem fueled an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip last May that killed more than 250 Palestinians in Gaza and 13 people in Israel.

Hamas said in a statement that “continued attacks on the faithful will backfire (Israel).”

The Palestinian Authority, which rules in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said the events in the Al Aqsa complex had “united” the Palestinians.

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Writing by Dan Williams Editing by Helen Popper

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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