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Dozens of Palestinians wounded in Al Aqsa clashes

By AFP - Apr 16,2014 - Last updated at Apr 16,2014

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Dozens of Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces that erupted Wednesday when Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al Aqsa Mosque compound was opened to Jewish visitors, an AFP correspondent said.

Security spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Palestinians threw “stones and firecrackers” at police when they opened the walled compound’s gates.

Israeli forces responded with stun grenades, Rosenfeld said, and closed the complex to the Jewish visitors after a small number had toured the site.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said dozens of Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenade canisters, and were staying inside the Al Aqsa Mosque out of fear they would be arrested when leaving.

The compound, in Jerusalem’s Old City, is revered as the location of the biblical Jewish temples and is considered Judaism’s holiest place.

It also houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Rosenfeld said the situation on “Temple Mount”, the Jewish term for the complex, was “calm again” and police had left the site.

He noted that in a separate incident elsewhere in Jerusalem’s Old City a security officer was lightly wounded by stones thrown by Palestinians.

Non-Muslim visits to the Al Aqsa complex are permitted and regulated by Israeli forces, but Jews are not allowed to pray at the site.

Jews are marking Passover, a seven-day holiday which in ancient times was marked by mass pilgrimage to the Temple Mount.

On Monday, Israeli forces arrested five Jews suspected of intending to sacrifice a goat at the Al Aqsa Mosque complex, in a bid to reenact an ancient Passover ritual.

Jewish fringe groups have vowed to build a third Temple, but Israeli political and religious authorities have repeatedly dismissed the idea.

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