Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.
Some 115 Palestinians were treated for injuries both inside the compound and in the surrounding area, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. A spokesperson said the injuries were mainly caused by rubber bullets, burns and bruises. Fifteen people were hospitalized, it said.
Israel is responsible for security at the entrance’s to the Temple Mount, while the Jordanian-administered Waqf manages the holy site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount but not to pray there.
Police arrested several Palestinian youths who barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque following prayers there late Thursday night, as tensions surrounding the Temple Mount persisted after nearly two weeks of bloody clashes over security measures at the site.
The confrontation came following a day of fighting between police and Muslim worshipers at the holy site, after Muslim leaders said they would resume praying at the site as Israel rolled back security measures there, seemingly ending a high-stakes standoff over control of the sacred compound.
However, tensions remain high ahead of prayers Friday, with Israeli officials beefing up police and military presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank amid fears of clashes amid lingering Muslim anger over the episode.
According to police, they were forced to remove several dozen youths who had refused orders from both Israeli authorities and the Islamic Waqf that administers the site to leave the mosque following prayers.
Numerous mounted police and those in armored patrol vehicles were present on the streets as well. Clashes were also reported in the ancient Judean cities of Bethlehem and Hebron, where Arab youth attacked Israeli forces as well.