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Palestinians clash with Israeli forces amid Aqsa restrictions

Oct. 15, 2014 11:10 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 18, 2014 10:05 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Clashes broke out between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid visits by right-wing Jews on Wednesday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Israeli forces fired stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets towards worshipers and chased them out of the compound, the sources said.

Three Palestinians were injured during the clashes.

Tensions had risen at the holy site early in the day as Israeli authorities imposed restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the mosque.

An Israeli police statement said all men under the age of 50 would be prevented from entering.

Though the statement said women would be allowed into the compound, witnesses said all women were denied entry as well.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a statement that Israeli forces "assaulted" Palestinians who were conducting a sit-in at Lions Gate in protest against the restrictions.

By 9:00, some 100 right-wing Israelis had entered the compound, Palestinian security guards at the mosque told Ma'an.

Palestinians chanted "Allahu Akbar," or "God is the greatest."

A delegation from a follow-up committee on Al-Aqsa, including Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset, were eventually allowed to enter the compounds and sit-in at the Moroccans Gate, where they joined in chanting "Allahu Akbar."

Israeli police limited the Israelis' tour of the compound to the area between the Moroccan and Chain Gates, witnesses said.

Hundreds of right-wing Jews have visited the Al-Aqsa Compound during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which ends Wednesday evening.

Mainstream Jews are instructed not to visit the compound for fear of profaning the inner sanctum of the temple they believe once stood at the site.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is sensitive for Palestinians due to its status as the third holiest site in Islam and its location in the heart of the Old City of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its "eternal, undivided capital," but the international community sees East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory and the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount, is also the holiest site in Judaism.
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