World Bulletin/News Desk
Clashes erupted Friday between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police forces in East Jerusalem following the weekly prayers, eyewitnesses said.
Israeli forces fired stun grenades and teargas to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, according to the witnesses.
Similar clashes were reported in the Shuafat refugee camp in the city.
The fresh violence comes amid rising tension in the holy city following the shooting of a far-right Jewish rabbi on Wednesday.
Following the shooting, Israeli police killed a Palestinian man for allegedly shooting the rabbi and closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, triggering clashes with Palestinian protesters in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Israeli authorities reopened the compound on Friday, but decided to impose fresh restrictions on access to the site, allowing only male worshippers aged 50 and above and women of all ages into the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel disperses W. Bank rallies
Several Palestinians were injured in the occupied West Bank on Friday when Israeli forces dispersed rallies staged in solidarity with East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli forces used live ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse protesters marching to the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and East Jerusalem, according to eyewitnesses.
Three Palestinian youths were injured by live ammunition and five others by rubber bullets, medics said.
Scores of Palestinian protesters also suffered temporary asphyxiation after inhaling teargas fired by Israeli forces, according to eyewitnesses.
Israeli forces also dispersed a rally in support of Al-Aqsa in the West Bank city of Hebron, leaving scores of protesters suffering temporary asphyxiation.
Near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, meanwhile, clashes were reported between Israeli forces and stone-throwing Palestinians.
Gazans rally in solidarity
Hundreds of Palestinians staged rallies in the Gaza Strip on Friday in solidarity with the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.
Protesters shouted pro-Al-Aqsa slogans during the rallies, organized by resistance factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad in northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City.
"This is not just a protest; Qassam Brigades [Hamas' armed wing] are working tirelessly to increase its rocket arsenal and improve its range," Hamas leader Fathi Hammad told reporters during the protest.
He called on the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority to halt security coordination with Israel "in solidarity with Jerusalemites and Al-Aqsa Mosque".
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2014, 16:51