Tensions mount at Al Aqsa Mosque

Israeli police armed with stun grenades and tear gas clashed with rock-throwing Palestinian youths who had barricaded themselves inside Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque for a third day, police and witnesses said.

Masked Palestinians hurled flares at the security forces, who said they were trying to secure the plaza outside Islam’s third holiest shrine to stop what they called Palestinian attempts to disrupt visits to the compound on Jewish New Year.

The United States and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon both said they are concerned about the violence at the site, revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as Temple Mount.

King Abdullah from neighbouring Jordan said the Israeli actions were provocative and could imperil ties between the countries, state media reported and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel’s actions.

Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty derives part of its legitimacy from its traditional custodianship of the holy site. Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994.

“If this continues to happen ... Jordan will have no choice but to take action,” King Abdullah was quoted as saying without elaborating.

Palestinian Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdeinah said Abbas and King Abdullah had discussed the events by phone.

Jewish ultra-nationalists want the Israeli government to allow Jewish prayer on the compound outside al-Aqsa, which stands above Judaism’s Western Wall.


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