Israel arrests Palestinians for stone throwing

  • AFP, Jerusalem
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2015 11:03 IST
A masked Palestinian youth throws stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Shuafat in east Jerusalem. (AFP Photo)

Israeli police arrested seven Palestinians, including five youths, in another day of violence sparked by tensions over the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The arrests took place in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Issawiya, on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus, after young demonstrators threw rocks at police, a statement said.

Overnight, three police were injured when a firebomb struck their van in the Jabal Mukaber district and eight Palestinians were arrested, including at least three youths.

It came after four days of clashes this week, including Friday, when a rocket fired from in the Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza struck a parked bus in the southern Israeli town of Sderot without causing casualties.

Subsequently, Israel bombed a training camp of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed branch.

There were no casualties.

Known to Muslims as Al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), the compound houses the famous golden Dome of the Rock shrine and Al-Aqsa mosque.

Believed to be where the Prophet Mohammed made his night journey to heaven, it is the third-holiest site in Islam.

As the location of Judaism’s biblical temples, it is known as the Temple Mount to Jews, who are allowed to visit but cannot pray there to avoid further raising tensions.

Israel fears further trouble ahead when the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha coincides Wednesday with the solemn Jewish fast of Yom Kippur.

And Jews begin their seven-day Sukkot festival the following week, one of the holidays when more Israelis than usual are likely to visit the compound.

Israel seized east Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it. It claims sovereignty over the entire city, including holy sites.

To the Palestinians, who want the mainly Arab eastern side as their capital, the compound with its landmarks is a potent symbol of so-far unrealised statehood.

They fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access.

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