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Israeli forces raid al-Aqsa compound, 40 Palestinians injured

Dec. 6, 2013 6:57 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 7, 2013 10:28 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian worshipers on Friday during clashes in the al-Aqsa compound.

Al-Aqsa clinic medics told Ma'an that 40 people were injured by stun grenade splinters and pepper spray, and five were taken to the hospital as a result.

The wounded included a 10-year-old child hit with a stun grenade splinter in the neck.

A Ma'an reporter said Israeli police raided the mosque compound in East Jerusalem and used riot control methods on worshipers, who responded by throwing rocks at Israeli forces.

Dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear-gas inhalation.

Israeli forces assaulted journalist Atta Ewisat and also used pepper spray to disperse the crowds.

Israeli forces said they detained three people for participating in the clashes, and the tally might rise.

Clashes also broke out between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Bab Hutta and al-Saidiya neighborhoods.

Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

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

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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