New clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators broke out Friday morning at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, an AFP photographer said.
Israeli police entered the compound and Palestinian youths threw stones at them, according to the photographer.
Friday’s clashes come after a month of deadly violence and simmering tensions, as the Jewish festival of Passover overlaps with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
At around 4:00 am people threw stones towards the Wailing Wall, Jews’ holiest prayer site, which is just below Al-Aqsa mosque, according to a statement by police.
Over the past week, more than 200 people, mostly Palestinians, were wounded in clashes in and around Al-Aqsa mosque.
This led to further escalation as Palestinian armed groups fired rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza, a besieged territory with an impoverished population of 2.3 million.
The massive deployment of police forces, as well as the increasing presence of observant Jews in the holy site, were widely perceived by Palestinians and several countries in the region as a “provocation”.
Jews are allowed to visit under certain conditions but are not allowed to pray there, according to the status quo agreement.
Several Arab ministers gathered in the Jordanian capital of Amman Thursday and condemned “the Israeli attacks and violations against the faithful in al-Aqsa mosque.”