Clashes renew in Jerusalem holy site

xinhuanet.com 29-Sep-2015

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i policemen escort Jewish people to visit the compound known to Muslims as the "Noble Sanctuary" and to Jews as the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, on Sept. 28, 2015. Clashes continued to shake the compound on Monday, with Israeli security forces locking horns with a group of Palestinians which they claim had set up makeshift fortifications at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque to prevent Jewish visitation to the holy site. Al-Aqsa compound is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site for Jews who know it as the Temple Mount and revere it as the site of their second temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD. (Xinhua/Li Rui)

JERUSALEM, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Fresh clashes broke out Monday morning between Palestinians and i police for the second consecutive day in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, ahead of opening the site to Jewish visitors.

A police spokesperson said Palestinian "rioters" barricaded themselves inside al-Aqsa Mosque and placed obstacles to block entry.

Following failed negotiation attempts, police entered the al-Aqsa compound at 6:45 am (4:45GMT), and were met with rocks and firecrackers threw by Palestinians within the mosque, the spokesperson said.

At least 15 Palestinians were wounded as the dozens of police stormed the site, Palestinian media reported.

The clashes erupted on the first day of the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot, during which Jews were expected to arrive for prayers at the adjacent Wailing Wall.

On Sunday, the police decided to deny entry of Muslim worshipers under the age of 50, after fresh clashes erupted earlier that day.

Tensions in and around the holy compound have been running high over the past two weeks, with almost daily clashes over visits by Jews to the site. Israel has deployed over 3,000 police in Jerusalem, especially around the Old City where most sensitive holy sites locate.

The hilltop compound is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site for Jews, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Visits to the site by Israeli far-right activists have been on the rise, as part of their struggle to cancel a long-held ban on Jewish prayers there. Palestinians say Israel is violating a status quo agreement from 1967, which allows Jews to visit the site but prohibit them from praying there.