31 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

31 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

Palestinians evacuated a person wounded in clashes between protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on April 22, 2022. MAHMOUD ILLEAN AP JERUSALEM - At least 31 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday, according to Palestinian medics, the latest outbreak in a recent upsurge of violence at a site revered by Muslims and Jews alike.

Two Palestinians were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service.

Israeli police said its forces intervened when hundreds of people began hurling rocks and fireworks and drew close to the Western Wall, where Jewish worship was under way.

Reuters witnesses said police entered the compound after the morning prayers and fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at a crowd of about 200 Palestinians, some of whom were throwing rocks. The witnesses said that police also fired rubber bullets from a close range at a group of journalists documenting the clashes.

The violence at the compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has surged over the past week, raising concerns about a slide back into wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Israeli forces have killed 29 Palestinians in West Bank raids since March, according to the Palestinian health ministry, and a series of deadly Arab street attacks have killed 14 people in Israel, Israeli police and medics said.

Israeli police enter Al-Aqsa mosque compound where they clashed with Palestinian protesters after early morning prayers in Jerusalem's Old City, April 22, 2022. MAHMOUD ILLEAN AP Tensions this year have been heightened by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, coinciding with the Jewish celebration of Passover, which brings more Muslim and Jewish visitors to the compound.

Palestinians accuse Israel of not doing enough to enforce a long-standing ban on Jewish worship at the third holiest site in Islam and see such visits as a provocation. Israel rejects this accusation.

Israeli officials said on Friday that Israel is halting Jewish visits during the final 10 days of Ramadan. Traditionally, Muslim attendance at the compound increases during the last days of the fasting month.

The Al-Aqsa compound is situated above the Old City plateau of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move that has not won international recognition. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they want to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

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Palestinians gather stones to throw at Israeli police after entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 22, 2022. MAHMOUD ILLEAN AP A US State Department delegation met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to ease tensions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the delegation that Israel was responsible for the escalation and asked for the United States to intervene, according to a Palestinian Authority official.

Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid discussed with the US envoys Israel's efforts in this very challenging period to preserve the status quo on the Temple Mount, and called for regional leaders to restore calm, according to a ministry statement.