Dozens of Palestinians wounded in Al-Aqsa violence

Wednesday 16 April 2014 20.17
Israeli riot police check the ID as they arrest a Palestinian inside the Al Aqsa Mosque on Monday
Israeli riot police check the ID as they arrest a Palestinian inside the Al Aqsa Mosque on Monday

Dozens of Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli police when Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound was opened to Jewish visitors.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Palestinians threw "stones and firecrackers" at police when they opened the walled compound's gates.

Police responded with stun grenades, Mr Rosenfeld said. They closed the complex to the Jewish visitors after a small number had toured the site.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said dozens of Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenade canisters

They said they were staying inside the Al-Aqsa mosque out of fear they would be arrested when leaving.

The compound, in Jerusalem's Old City, is revered as the location of the biblical Jewish temples and is considered Judaism's holiest place.

It also houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Mr Rosenfeld said the situation on "Temple Mount," the Jewish term for the complex, was "calm again" and police had left the site.

He noted that in a separate incident elsewhere in Jerusalem's Old City a police officer was lightly wounded by stones thrown by Palestinians.

Non-Muslim visits to the Al-Aqsa complex are permitted and regulated by police, but Jews are not allowed to pray at the site.

Jews are marking Passover, a seven-day holiday that in ancient times was marked by mass pilgrimage to the Temple Mount.

Gaza blast kills three Palestinians

An explosion in Gaza killed three Palestinians and wounded five, a medical official said, but the reason for the blast was unclear.

The three killed were dead on their arrival at hospital, and all were in their 20s, Hamas's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

The other five were in serious condition, he said.

Witnesses said the blast took place at a training camp belonging to Hamas's armed wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades east of the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, but it was unclear what caused the explosion.

A blast during a "training session in bomb-making" killed a Qassam Brigades member and injured six others last month in the southern town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, the group said.