Occupied Jerusalem: Several Palestinians were injured, at least one of them seriously, when they clashed with Israeli police near Al Haram Al Sharif in occupied Jerusalem after evening prayers on Tuesday, according to Palestinian medical officials.
A hospital official said one man had suffered a serious head wound from a rubber bullet fired from close range but an Israeli police spokesperson denied that rubber bullets had been used. A senior Muslim cleric was also hurt, witnesses said.
Tensions have increased around the compound, which is holy to Muslims and Jews, since three Palestinians from 1948 areas shot dead two Israeli regime policemen outside the complex on Friday.
The assailants were killed by security forces and Israeli authorities briefly closed the compound. When it was reopened on Sunday, metal detectors had been installed, to the anger of Muslim religious authorities. Israeli officials said they were a permanent measure but many worshippers refused to pass through them and preferred to pray outside Al Haram Al Sharif.
The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least 14 people had been injured in Tuesday’s violence. A video clip posted on social media from the scene showed people running away from a melee and loud popping sounds.
Israeli police spokesperson Luba Samri said that, after prayers ended, some of the dozens of worshippers had started throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, and dispersal means were used. Two officers were lightly hurt, she said.
Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said police who regularly patrol occupied Jerusalem’s Old City use stun grenades in clashes, but are not routinely armed with rubber bullets.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday said that Israel has no sovereignty over Al Aqsa Mosque.
Hamdallah called on the international community and Islamic countries to intervene to halt violations made by the Israeli occupation against the revered site, Efe reported.
“The entire world should know that Israel, as the occupying power, does not have any lawful authority over Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian holy places,” Hamdallah said.
The Palestinian authorities and the international community do not recognise Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem, occupied in 1967 and later annexed by Israel.
Hamdallah called for securing international protection for the Palestinians, referring to Israeli security measures taken around Al Haram Al Sharif.
He said he holds Israel responsible for rising tensions over these decisions.
Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces continued on Tuesday in the vicinity of the Old City of Jerusalem and surrounding neighbourhoods.
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