World Bulletin/News Desk
At least 12 Palestinians were arrested and 13 injured in clashes with Israeli police in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada, eyewitnesses said Friday.
The Israeli army used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian protesters who took to the streets to denounce repeated Israeli violations of the Aqsa Mosque in the holy city.
Protests swept several areas of the Old City, including Bab al-Amud, Al-Issawiya, Ras al-Amud and Gethsemane.
The worst violence, however, was seen in Abu Dis.
Eyewitnesses said that Palestinian youths managed to dig a hole through the Israeli barrier separating the Old City from other neighborhoods near Abu Dis.
Israeli forces fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
At least 13 Palestinians suffered teargas inhalation during clashes, Fatah leader Anwar Badr told Anadolu Agency.
Israeli police said 12 youths were arrested and an Israeli policeman injured.
At least ten Palestinians were also injured in clashes with Israeli army personnel in the occupied West Bank.
Four Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets near the entrance to the Jalazone refugee camp, located 7km north of Ramallah, during protests against repeated Israeli violations of the Aqsa Mosque in the city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Israeli police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstration, eyewitnesses said.
Following the clashes, the Israeli army closed the northern entrance to Ramallah with concrete blocks and blocked access to vehicles, witnesses added.
Elsewhere in the Palestinian territory, six Palestinians were injured by live ammunition during similar clashes near Ofer Prison in western Ramallah, local medical sources said.
Palestinian groups called for rallies following weekly Friday prayers to denounce recent near-daily Israeli violations of the Aqsa Mosque, considered a holy site by both Muslims and Jews.
The clashes come one day before the 13th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada, triggered by a visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque by right-wing Israeli politician Ariel Sharon in 2000. Thousands of Palestinians were killed and injured in the ensuing unrest.
In recent weeks, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have entered the Aqsa Mosque complex on an almost daily basis.
The frequent violations distress Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
Jews refer to Al-Aqsa as the "Temple Mount," claiming the area was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.