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Israeli forces detain 5 during Al-Aqsa clashes

Sept. 4, 2013 10:01 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2013 10:08 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces after Jewish rightists entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday, locals said.

Local youths threw stones at a group of around 40 Israeli rightists who entered the compound, witnesses said.

Israeli forces responded by storming the mosque compound and spraying protestors with pepper spray, lightly injuring three women.

Five people were detained by Israeli forces and scuffles broke out between Palestinians and police guarding the gates leading to the mosque.

Israeli police closed all gates leading to the mosque and prevented worshipers under 50 from entering. They also stopped dozens of buses in Jerusalem carrying Palestinian worshipers to the mosque and told them to turn around, Israeli media reported.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of endowment and affairs at al-Aqsa Mosque, told Ma'an that clashes took place around the mosque.

Local Palestinians say they expect more visits to the mosque compound by Israeli rightists due to the start of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

According to mainstream religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies" the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.

The Al-Aqsa compound, containing the mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is the third holiest site in Islam and abuts the site where Jews believe the ancient Second Temple stood.

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