07/19/2017, 18.15
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Clashes break out in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Muslims

Violence started at the end of the evening prayer. Worshippers prayed outside the mosques in protest against the presence of metal detectors. Fatah called for the "Day of rage".

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dozens of Muslims were wounded in clashes with Israeli police that broke out yesterday after the evening prayer. One man was seriously injured.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said 14 Palestinians were injured, but Palestinian-Israeli news website Arab48 put the number at 34, citing the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Violence broke out on Temple Mount-Haram esh-Sharif at the end of the evening prayer. More than 3,000 worshippers, including Palestinian-Israeli lawmakers, had gathered to pray outside the mosque, photographer Mahfouz Abu Turk told Middle East Eye. He said some 350 security officers were involved in the crackdown.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that, after prayers ended, some worshippers started throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, and dispersal means were used. Two officers were lightly hurt, she said.

Fatah, which runs the Palestinian National Authority, called for a “day of rage” on Wednesday, to protest the Israeli measures around the mosque in Jerusalem.

For Palestinian authorities, tighter controls by Israel are an attempt to assert Israeli sovereignty over the area. This had already occurred during a prisoners’ hunger strike in April.

The current situation began on 14 July after a shootout left five people dead, the worst incident in the area for years. This led to al-Aqsa being closed and Friday prayers cancelled.

When mosque reopened on Sunday, the installation of metal detectors outraged Muslim worshippers, who have prayed outside the mosque ever since.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who was injured on Tuesday, said Palestinians will continue to pray outside al-Aqsa. "We will continue praying around al-Aqsa until they remove the electronic metal detectors," he said.

Tensions remain high over Temple Mount-Haram esh-Sharif. Under the existing status quo, the area is under Jordanian custodianship, and only Muslims are allowed to pray inside.

Many Palestinians fear that the status quo is being challenged by Israel. Jewish extremists have exacerbated tensions by regularly visiting it and demanding that the mosque be torn down and replaced with a Jewish temple.

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