Friday prayers in Jerusalem at the al-Aqsa mosque are often a flashpoint, and once again clashes broke out today after Israeli police entered the compound housing the holy place.
The police claim they took action after they had been targeted by stone-throwing Palestinians who had also aimed at Jewish worshippers nearby. Palestinian medical workers say at least 17 were injured by tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.
Tensions have been high here following Israel’s announcement last month of a plan to restore Jewish holy sites in the West Bank.
Following this outburst of violence Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel for trying to stymie efforts to restart peace talks.
Israel said it hoped to begin indirect negotiations with the Palestinians next week during a visit by Washington’s middle East envoy.