Clashes erupted between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli forces at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday during a settler ‘tour’ at the flashpoint site, according to the Jerusalem Waqf (religious endowments) Agency, Anadolu reports.
In a statement, the agency said Israeli police allowed more than 400 Israeli settlers into the compound, a rare visit during the final days of the fasting month of Ramadan, which will end this week.
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Hundreds of worshippers chanted Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest) in an expression of anger at the settler tour at the flashpoint compound, the statement said.
Israeli police chased and assaulted a number of worshippers, including a mosque guard and banned medics from providing medical help, the agency said.
According to an Anadolu Agency reporter, Israeli police fired teargas and stun bombs and chased worshippers as far as the entrance to the southern ceiled building, where the worshippers barricaded.
Three worshippers were reportedly arrested during the violence.
The Israeli police have yet to issue an official statement on the clashes.
Sunday’s clashes came amid calls by Jewish groups for settlers to converge on the site to mark what they call the “reunification of Jerusalem”.
Israel has illegally occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
In a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s “eternal and undivided” capital.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
International law continues to view both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territory.