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Israeli police have raided al-Aqsa mosque's compound, clashing with Muslim worshippers and arresting Palestinian protesters.

Al Jazeera has learnt that the clashes erupted on Sunday after Israeli police tried to enter the compound in occupied Jerusalem's Old City.

The site is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and is revered by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), comprising al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

At least 10 people were injured and another 15 detained, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem said.

Israeli police put the number of arrests at 12.

Early on Sunday, Israel police deployed extra troops after calls for demonstrations around the holy site.

The Palestinian calls came amid rumours that rightwing Jewish activists were planning to gather at al-Aqsa compound.

The rumours circulated after a fringe Israeli group, the Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights on the Temple Mount, called on Jews to gather at the mosque compound as well as the adjacent Western Wall.

Spreading violence

Palestinian officials said the Israeli police closed off the compound to visitors, leaving hundreds of worshippers inside.

Jivara al-Budairi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said: "Clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police spread to the Old City neighbourhoods of Bab Hutta, Bab al-Majlis and Aqabat al-Tkiye.


She said the injured could not be moved out of the compound because of the Israeli police siege.

She said the violence in the Old City erupted after the Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinian students and youths in the area.

The youths retaliated by throwing stones at the soldiers.

Columns of black smoke could be seen rising from areas close to the mosque compound, our correspondent said.

It seems that Palestinian youths set ablaze tyres in areas where Israeli police and army forces were heavily deployed, she said.

A large number of Palestinians began a march from the Old City towards al-Aqsa mosque, she said.

The neighbourhood's merchants have, meanwhile, announced a comprehensive strike and closed all shops, al-Budairi said.

Conflicting accounts

Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, said the raid and arrests took place after Palestinian youths threw stones and a petrol bomb at a police patrol near the mosque.

Shmuel Ben-Ruby, the Jerusalem police spokesman, admitted that security forces used stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators.

He accused the protesters of pouring oil on the ground to make the police forces slip, and of hurling a firebomb.

Ben-Ruby said police did not enter mosque itself.

But Kamal Khatib, a spokesman for the Israeli Arab Islamic Movement, which has been at the forefront of recent al-Asa demonstrations, blamed Israeli police for the clashes.

"The police always excuse their attacks by saying that the worshippers threw stones," he told the AFP news agency.

"It is clear they just want to justify their crimes."

Khatib further accused the police of stopping buses filled with Muslim worshippers in northern Israel in a bid to prevent them from reaching Jerusalem.

'Cordoned off'

Describing the situation to Al Jazeera, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, said: "Israeli forces entered the compound from the Maghareba and Silsila gates.

"The forces cordoned off the compound, preventing all Muslims from entering the mosque.

"The situation is extremely serious, and I expect it to escalate.

"The Israelis have beaten the mosque's guards and staff, as well as worshippers, including women.

"I was personally prevented from entering the mosque. They are preventing us by force from reaching the mosque, where Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, head of the endowments council, several endowments department staff and a number of worshippers are at present under siege.

"We are besieged in al-Haram al-Sharif yard, while they are trapped inside al-Aqsa mosque.

“A large number of Israeli policemen and security officers are deployed inside al-Haram al-Sharif. They have detained most of the Palestinian worshippers who were inside the compound."

Recent tensions

Tensions exploded into violence on September 27, when Palestinians hurled rocks at a group of visitors whom they suspected of being rightwing Jewish extremists.

Israel captured the compound from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War and it has since served as a symbol of the two sides' competing claims to Jerusalem.

Day-to-day administration of the site remains in Muslim hands.

In September 2000, the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada, erupted after Ariel Sharon, a rightwing politician who went on to become Israel's prime minister, visited the site.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/10/20091025624384...

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This is another blood libel and innocents are attacked. After ever such roit the mount should be closed to all arab visiters for a period of time. Jews have every right to be there.
What an interesting peacemaking point of View Dan... Congrats!!!!!!!
I appologize. I do think that all religions should be able topray on the temple mount and that there should be no discrimination. If there is violence that does not allow this to happen authorities should punish the offenders.
This conflict isn't over yet, so incidents like this happens time to time. Unfortunate, but unavoidable.
Which authorities do you propose punish the Israeli police if they use excessive force?
On 2000 clashes as these led to the Electronic Intifada and still Palestinians are trying to get out of its bad consequences on them. Part of peacemaking is about to find a way to avoid such clashes and more safe and secured environments.
Dear Hiba,

The more we approach change and peace we will witness more violence and such events, this is a reaction to progress.

we know there is progress in WB and we know that Hamas Gaza position is weakening in parallel the Israeli settlement project is approaching its end ... so we can expect more clashes and more activity from the people who fear normality and are blind to our mutual humanity.

This violance from settlers extremists as from religious extremists can win this round and we will have another intifada phase ... or will die as the society in Palestine and in Israel get to know that we all have one inclusive future and we need to engage.
I think there could be no peace until there is a sense of mutual acceptance. Moseld have yet to accept the fact that the temple mount it where the temple stood. It make no sense that Jew are not allowed to pray on the temple mount, the holiest place for them in the world (the Mecca of the Jews). And the fact that rumors are used to start riots is nothing more than a blood libel, as Jews we have had these throughout the years. A few weeks ago a couple of french tourists were attacked and now again unprovoked attacks. This cannot continue, the goverment of Israel should give Jews a place to pray on the mount and let it know that this kind of behavior will be punished severely.
I agree with the concept of sharing and acceptance. OTOH I think that there are hidden agendas behind such clashes and politicians on both sides push them with an invisible hand. Such clashes could be used to gain points between people and get up in the political hierarchy.
Ever since the Jewish Holidays i have been quite up tight about the situation in Jerusalem Neri's analysis may be correct..but it is not calming. Besides the extremists (many who actually believe the messages they spout) where is the Jewish and Arab leadership who "know that we all have on inclusive future..."?

Are there any joint statements? Where are the leaders who express dismay at the flames being fanned by their own? Jewish groups lobby for more "presence" on the Mount, Arab groups claim that Israel wants to "conquer" the Haram el Sharif..

We would be much better off if Arab and Jewish leadership would not join the bandwagon using the holy site as just another bit of ammunition in the political struggle..because this bit of ammunition is megapower and can get totally out of control

Today I wrote a letter to MP Taleb al-Sana in reaction to remarks quoted in Haaretz-Below some paragraphs from that letter..

...I share this concern with you but, unlike you,i firmly believe that the Israeli Police is interested in quiet and does not want to bend to Israeli rightist groups like Neemanei Har HaBayit.

...Perhaps the fact that Israeli Police have control over the site is even worse in your eyes, than the fact that Non Moslems (Jews and Chrisitians) might want to visit the site and even to quietly offer private prayers in the compound

...Groups like Neemanei Har Habayit do not just want to visit or even pray..they want to prove "who is the boss", "who is the Baal HaBayit" and that is what makes them, in my eyes, so dangerous.

...But I think that the Israeli Police are not interested in proving who is boss, rather their mission is providing security for all and trying to maintain order and quiet.

As long as creative solutions are not forthcoming, the sincere efforts of the Israel police should be appreciated and the Israeli Police Force should not be used cynically in a way that just fans the flames of violence on both sides. Will these flames bring us closer to the creative solution necessary?
I can appreciate what you are saying. I just think that groups like Neemanei Har Habayit do not represent the majority of Jews who would like the right to pray at the TEmple mount. The fact of the matter is that Jews are the Bal Habyit and the least they can do is let their own people enjoy the temple mount. Unfortunately, the moslem world is not very open to infidles praying on their holy land and since they do not recognize it as a Jewish holy spot they will riot to show they are the "baal habayit" and not allow for a change in the discrimitory status quo.
Dear Hiba,

The more we approach change and peace we will witness more violence and such events, this is a reaction to progress.

we know there is progress in WB and we know that Hamas Gaza position is weakening in parallel the Israeli settlement project is approaching its end ... so we can expect more clashes and more activity from the people who fear normality and are blind to our mutual humanity.

This violance from settlers extremists as from religious extremists can win this round and we will have another intifada phase ... or will die as the society in Palestine and in Israel get to know that we all have one inclusive future and we need to engage.

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