JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police in full riot gear stormed a delicate Jerusalem holy web site sacred to Jews and Muslims on Friday after Palestinian youths hurled stones at a gate the place they had been stationed.

The renewed violence on the web site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, got here regardless of Israel briefly halting Jewish visits, that are seen by the Palestinians as a provocation. Medics mentioned greater than two dozen Palestinians had been wounded earlier than the clashes subsided hours later.

Palestinians and Israeli police have usually clashed on the web site during the last week at a time of heightened tensions following a string of lethal assaults inside Israel and arrest raids within the occupied West Financial institution. Three rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, which is managed by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

The string of occasions has raised fears of a repeat of final 12 months, when protests and violence in Jerusalem ultimately boiled over, serving to to ignite an 11-day warfare between Israel and Hamas, and communal violence in Israel’s combined cities.

Palestinian youths hurled stones towards police at a gate main into the compound, based on two Palestinian witnesses who spoke on situation of anonymity out of safety issues. The police, in full riot gear, then entered the compound, firing rubber bullets and stun grenades.

Israeli police mentioned the Palestinians, some carrying Hamas flags, had begun stockpiling stones and erecting crude fortifications earlier than daybreak. The police mentioned that after the rock-throwing started, they waited till after early morning prayers had completed earlier than coming into the compound.

Some older Palestinians urged the youths to cease throwing rocks however had been ignored, as dozens of younger masked males hurled stones and fireworks on the police. A tree caught hearth close to the gate the place the clashes started. Police mentioned it was ignited by fireworks thrown by the Palestinians.

The violence subsided later within the morning after one other group of dozens of Palestinians mentioned they needed to scrub the realm forward of the primary weekly prayers noon, that are usually attended by tens of 1000’s of Muslim worshippers. The police withdrew to the gate and the stone-throwing stopped.

The Palestinian Pink Crescent medical service mentioned at the very least 31 Palestinians had been wounded, together with 14 who had been taken to hospitals. A policewoman was hit within the face by a rock and brought for medical therapy, the police mentioned.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis is the third holiest web site in Islam. The sprawling esplanade on which it’s constructed is the holiest web site for Jews, who confer with it because the Temple Mount as a result of it was the situation of two Jewish temples in antiquity. It lies on the coronary heart of the Israeli-Palestinian battle and clashes there have typically ignited violence elsewhere.

Palestinians and neighboring Jordan, the custodian of the positioning, accuse Israel of violating longstanding preparations by permitting more and more massive numbers of Jews to go to the positioning underneath police escort.

A longstanding prohibition on Jews praying on the web site has eroded in recent years, fueling fears amongst Palestinians that Israel plans to take over the positioning or partition it.

Israel says it stays dedicated to the established order and blames the violence on incitement by Hamas. It says its safety forces are performing to take away rock-throwers in an effort to guarantee freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims.

Visits by Jewish teams had been halted starting Friday for the final 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as they’ve been prior to now.

This 12 months, Ramadan coincided with the week-long Jewish Passover and main Christian holidays, with tens of 1000’s of individuals from all three faiths flocking to the Previous Metropolis after the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions.

The Previous Metropolis is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured together with the West Financial institution and Gaza within the 1967 Mideast warfare. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a transfer not acknowledged internationally and considers your complete metropolis its capital. The Palestinians search an unbiased state in all three territories and examine east Jerusalem as their capital.