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Clashes at key Jerusalem holy site
Observer Online Desk
Publish Date : 2014-11-05,  Publish Time : 15:23,  View Count : 15
Clashes have erupted between dozens of stone-throwing Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at a key holy site in Jerusalem, police say.

The Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif compound was briefly closed to visitors, but has since reopened.

Police said they used tear gas to disperse the crowd, which later fled.

The site was temporarily closed last week amid an escalation of tension over the shooting of a prominent right-wing Jewish activist.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who was seriously wounded in the attack, was a well-known campaigner for the right of Jews to pray at the site, which is currently prohibited.

The compound - known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif - is the holiest site in Judaism, and contains the al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam.

Dozens of masked protesters hurled rocks and launched fireworks at police near the non-Muslim visitors' entrance to the site on Wednesday morning, Israeli police said.

They said they managed to disperse the crowd using stun grenades, but no arrests were made. Several police officers were injured in the incident, they added.

A Palestinian manager at the compound said some 20 people were wounded in the clashes, Reuters reports.

There has been an escalation in tension in the city since the Gaza conflict last summer, with nightly clashes seen in some East Jerusalem districts between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

Last week, a Palestinian man suspected of attacking Rabbi Glick was shot after opening fire when Israeli police surrounded his home last week.

Hundreds of people turned out for the funeral of 31-year-old Moataz Hejazi.

Crowds of Palestinians also took to the streets to protest against the rare closure of Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif last Thursday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the decision to close the site was tantamount to a declaration of war.

Jerusalem's holiest site

Known as the Temple Mount to Jews and al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, it comprises the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and is next to the Western Wall
   
The Western Wall, from the time of the second Jewish Biblical temple, is the holiest site where Jews can pray; the Dome of the Rock, where according to Jewish tradition the Ark of the Covenant rested in the first temple, is the holiest site in Judaism
   
The al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam; the Dome of the Rock is revered by Muslims because of its connections to the Prophet Muhammad
  
 Christians also venerate the site because of its Biblical links to Jesus
   
A Muslim committee has managed the compound since the time of the Crusades, while Israel, which has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, controls access
  
 Israel maintains a ban on prayer by non-Muslims at the compound as a security measure
   
Rabbi Yehuda Glick campaigns for allowing Jews to pray at the site

BBC/TF





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