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Clashes erupt across East Jerusalem in wake of Aqsa violence

Sept. 16, 2015 10:56 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 16, 2015 5:49 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces across occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday night following three days of violent clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Sources told Ma'an that clashes erupted in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods and villages of al-Issawiya, al-Tur, Shuafat refugee camp, Silwan, Sur Bahir, and al-Sowwana.

Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, a local committee member in al-Issawiya, told Ma'an that clashes broke out in Issawiya after Israeli forces chased and shot at two Palestinians, injuring one and detaining the other.

Abu al-Hummus said that during the ensuing clashes, Israeli forces raided the village and sprayed foul-smelling skunk water on the streets and on one of the village's mosques.

He said that a 13-year-old girl, Saly Yousif Muhessien, who was in a nearby park, was injured when she was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet in her neck.

Meanwhile, a Fatah spokesman in Shuafat refugee camp said that clashes broke out there after Palestinian youths threw Molotov cocktails at a nearby Israeli checkpoint, setting an Israeli control tower on fire.

Israeli forces responded by firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets, he said.

Israeli forces also raided al-Tur neighborhood, reportedly detaining a child there, identified as Muath Sayyad.

In al-Sowwana neighborhood, clashes broke out after Palestinian youths shot fireworks at the Israeli settlement of Beit Orot, built in the neighborhood's land.

Clashes also erupted in the southern village of Sur Bahir when Israeli settlers marched to the village entrance, raising Israeli flags and chanting about the death of an Israeli driver, who police say may have lost control of his car after a stone was thrown at it.

The Wadi Hilweh information center said that clashes also erupted in the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood of Silwan, just south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The information center said that Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and sprayed skunk water through the neighborhood's streets.

Tensions have soared across East Jerusalem in the wake of three days of violent clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam.

Palestinians fear Israel is seeking to change rules governing the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access to the compound and even efforts by fringe organizations to erect a new temple.

The PLO has accused Israel of provoking the entire Muslim world in its actions at the compound.

"Israel is playing with fire," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Monday, warning that Israeli authorities were forcibly securing control over the site "in preparation for the total annexation and transformation of Al-Haram Al-Sharif."

Jews are allowed to visit the compound at certain times, but are forbidden from praying there, under an agreement between Israel and the Islamic Endowment that administers the site.

However, in recent days, Israeli forces have restricted Palestinian access to the site while escorting large numbers of Jewish worshipers through it.

During Tuesday's clashes at the site, the Jordanian-run Islamic Endowment said police entered deep inside the compound's southern mosque and caused damage.

Amman said Israel's actions amounted to "aggression" against Arab and Muslim nations, and said it was examining legal and diplomatic means to protect religious sites in the Holy City.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
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