Al-Aqsa mosque clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police

Al-Aqsa mosque clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police

Palestinians and Israeli police clashed with Israeli police at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque on Friday after weeks of violence at the flashpoint religious site.

The Palestinian Red Crescent, which gave the injury toll, said no one was seriously hurt but 22 people were taken to hospital.

Israeli police released footage showing young men hurling stones and fireworks in Friday's early hours. Officers entered the site at dawn.

A police statement said they went in to contain rioters and lawbreakers, some of whom were trying to throw stones down the Western Wall, the sacred Jewish site below Al-Aqsa.

Three people were arrested, two were arrested for throwing stones and one for inciting mob. Uneasy calm had been restored at the compound after the unrest that surrounded morning prayers, but tensions remained high. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim worshippers were expected to be in Al-Aqsa throughout the day.

Nearly 300 Palestinians have been injured over the past two weeks in Al-Aqsa clashes, Islam's third-holiest site, which is also the most holy site for Jews who call it the Temple Mount.

The site is located in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed, in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

Israel's incursion into the compound during Ramadan raised widespread condemnation and raised fears of inflaming Israeli-Palestinian tensions across Jerusalem.

The Jewish state has insisted that it has been compelled to act against operatives from the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It says the militants threaten Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa and Jews praying at the Western Wall.

In an apparent attempt to ease tensions, Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stressed that the government is committed to the status quo at the compound, meaning an adherence to the long-standing convention that only Muslims are allowed to pray there.

Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount.

A recent increase in such visits has angered Muslim leaders. Some people said they were worried that Israel was trying to divide the compound and create a space where Jews could worship. Lapid told reporters that no such plan exists.

The end of Ramadan nears early next week, and there is a new unrest.

Violence in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem has raised fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11 day war last year, triggered by similar unrest at Al-Aqsa between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Since early last week, there has been isolated rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel and Israeli reprisals, but there has been no casualties reported on either side.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders held a rally in Gaza late Thursday, with calls to defend Jerusalem including Al-Aqsa.

The violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank has been the subject of the Al Qaeda tensions since March 22.

Twelve Israelis, including an Arab-Israeli police officer, and two Ukrainians, were killed in four separate attacks inside Israel. Two of the deadly attacks were carried out by Palestinians in the Tel Aviv area.

During the same period, 26 Palestinians and three Israeli Arabs have died, among them perpetrators of attacks and those killed by Israeli security forces in West Bank operations.