Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Tensions remain high in the Holy Land following clashes on the Esplanade of the Mosques, also known as Temple Mount. Today, a young Palestinian was killed as he fled Israel’s border police. He is the third Palestinian to be killed in a week.
Border police forces entered the Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah to arrest two “suspected terror activists,” police said. One of them, identified as 18 year-old Muhammed Abu Latifa, was shot in the leg as he was running away across a roof, and then fell to his death as he tried to leap to another roof.
This comes a day after clashes broke out between Israelis and Palestinians yesterday when Israeli police entered the mosque of al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam after Makkah and Madinah, as some hardline Jews sought to enter the mosque compound on Tisha B’av, a day that commemorates the destruction of the first and second temple.
According to established practice, which Israel has maintained 1967 war, Muslims and Jews can visit the site, but Jews are not allowed to pray.
However, Palestinians believe that Israel wants to change the situation, a claim Israel has always disputed, including by the current government, but one that has some support among some Jewish ultranationalist lawmakers.
Yesterday, thousands of observant Jews flocked to the Western Wall for the annual prayer ceremony. However, a small number (pictured) tried to reach the esplanade to pray. As a consequence, clashes erupted over Jews' access to the compound.
Palestinians threw stones and fireworks while Israeli police fired stun grenades after security forces entered the al-Aqsa compound before briefly going inside the mosque itself.
Not since last November had Israeli police entered the Temple Mount. That incident also followed clashes. On that occasion, Israel sealed off the area, causing a diplomatic row with Jordan. This time, Palestinian authorities led the charge, slamming the “provocation” by Jewish extremists.