Jerusalem: More than 300 Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli police as clashes erupted at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Jerusalem’s police spokesman and Chief Superintendent, Idan Iluz told Xinhua news agency.
According to Iluz, the arrests were made in the morning hours of Friday as violent clashes broke out near the holy site, Xinhua news agency reported.
“There was persistent rock throwing at police officers for several hours. Officers responded with crowd dispersal means to push the rioters back,” the police said in a statement.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that it had treated nearly 60 people injured during the clashes. Israeli police added that three officers were lightly wounded.
Thousands of worshippers started to gather at the holy compound in the early morning for the prayers on the second Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is a site holy to both Muslims and Jews, the latter of whom call it the Temple Mount.
Videos circulating online showed masked men throwing rocks at police officers who fired tear gas and stun grenades at the crowds.
Tensions have been high in recent weeks during another wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. This weekend is especially tense as Muslims continue to mark Ramadan and Jews prepare to celebrate the holiday of Passover on Friday evening.
Since March, 14 Israelis have been killed in several attacks in Israeli cities, leading to subsequent Israeli military operations throughout the West Bank that have killed more than 20 Palestinians.
On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with soldiers at a military base to examine the situation.
“We are working to calm things down on the Temple Mount and throughout Israel. At the same time, we are prepared for any scenario,” Bennett said.
“The riots this morning … are unacceptable,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.
In 2021, clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, the focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, led to an 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.