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JERUSALEM (AP) — Medics say no less than 117 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes with Israeli police at a serious holy web site in Jerusalem.

Police entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound early Friday, igniting clashes with Palestinians who had gathered for morning prayers throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

Israeli authorities say masked males had marched to the mosque and have been stockpiling stones and different objects in anticipation of violence.

The location is the third holiest in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who confer with it because the Temple Mount. It’s typically a flashpoint within the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

The Palestinian Purple Crescent emergency service supplied an up to date toll of wounded. Israeli police say no less than three officers have been wounded by rocks thrown at them.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows under.

Israeli safety forces entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem earlier than daybreak on Friday as hundreds of Palestinians have been gathered for prayers throughout the holy month of Ramadan, setting off clashes that medics stated wounded no less than 67 Palestinians.

Israel stated its forces entered to take away rocks and stones that had been gathered in anticipation of violence. The holy web site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, has typically been the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian unrest, and tensions have been already heightened amid a latest wave of violence. Clashes on the web site final yr helped spark an 11-day conflict with Hamas militants within the Gaza Strip.

The clashes come at a very delicate time. Ramadan this yr coincides with Passover, a serious weeklong Jewish vacation starting Friday at sunset, and Christian holy week, which culminates on Easter Sunday. The vacations are anticipated to carry tens of hundreds of devoted into Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis, dwelling to main websites sacred to all three religions.

Movies circulating on-line confirmed Palestinians hurling rocks and fireworks and police firing tear fuel and stun grenades on the sprawling esplanade surrounding the mosque. Others confirmed worshippers barricading themselves contained in the mosque itself amid what seemed to be clouds of tear fuel.

The Palestinian Purple Crescent emergency service stated it evacuated 67 folks to hospitals who had been wounded by rubber-coated bullets or stun grenades, or crushed with batons. The endowment stated one of many guards on the web site was shot within the eye with a rubber bullet.

The Israeli police stated three officers have been wounded from “huge stone-throwing,” with two evacuated from the scene for remedy.

The Israeli Overseas Ministry stated dozens of masked males carrying Palestinian and Hamas flags marched to the compound early Friday and gathered stones.

“Police have been compelled to enter the grounds to disperse the group and take away the stones and rocks, so as to stop additional violence,” it tweeted.

The police stated they waited till prayers have been over and the crowds began to disperse. In an announcement, it stated crowds began hurling rocks within the course of the Western Wall, a close-by Jewish holy web site, forcing them to behave. They stated they didn’t enter the mosque itself.

Palestinians view any giant deployment of police at Al-Aqsa as a serious provocation.

Israel’s nationwide safety minister, Omer Barlev, who oversees the police pressure, stated Israel had “no curiosity” in violence on the holy web site however that police have been compelled to confront “violent components” that confronted them with stones and metallic bars.

He stated Israel was dedicated to freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims alike. Police stated Friday’s midday prayers on the mosque — when tens of hundreds of individuals have been anticipated — would happen as ordinary.

The mosque is the third holiest web site in Islam. It’s constructed on a hilltop in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis that’s the most sacred web site for Jews, who confer with it because the Temple Mount as a result of it was the positioning of the Jewish temples in antiquity. It has been a serious flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence for many years and was the epicenter of the 2000-2005 Palestinian intifada, or rebellion.

Tensions have soared in latest weeks following a sequence of assaults by Palestinians that killed 14 folks inside Israel. Israel has carried out a wave of arrests and army operations throughout the occupied West Financial institution, setting off clashes with Palestinians.

The Palestinian Well being Ministry stated a 17-year-old died early Friday from wounds suffered throughout clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin, within the occupied West Financial institution, the day earlier than.

At the least 25 Palestinians have been killed within the latest wave of violence, in response to an Related Press rely, a lot of whom had carried out assaults or have been concerned within the clashes, but additionally an unarmed lady and a lawyer who seems to have been killed by mistake.

Weeks of protests and clashes in Jerusalem throughout Ramadan final yr ultimately ignited an 11-day conflict with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which guidelines the Gaza Strip.

Israel had lifted restrictions and brought different steps to try to calm tensions forward of Ramadan, however the assaults and the army raids have led to one other cycle of unrest.

Hamas condemned what it stated have been “brutal assaults” on worshippers at Al-Aqsa by Israeli forces, saying Israel would bear “all the results.” It referred to as on all Palestinians to “stand by our folks in Jerusalem.”

Earlier this week, Hamas and different militant teams in Gaza had referred to as on Palestinians to camp out on the Al-Aqsa mosque over the weekend. Palestinians have lengthy feared that Israel plans to take over the positioning or partition it.

Israeli authorities say they’re dedicated to sustaining the established order, however in recent times nationalist and spiritual Jews have visited the positioning in giant numbers with police escorts.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, dwelling to Al-Aqsa and different main holy websites, within the 1967 conflict and annexed it in a transfer not acknowledged internationally. Palestinians need the japanese a part of the town to be the capital of a future unbiased state together with the West Financial institution and Gaza, which Israel additionally captured throughout the conflict almost 55 years in the past.

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