Clashes in West Bank and Jerusalem over al Aqsa mosque access

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Clashes in West Bank and Jerusalem over al Aqsa mosque access

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A group of Palestinian women engaged in verbal and sometimes physical clashes with Palestinian security forces in the West Bank town of Hebron on Friday.

Reports say Hamas supporters in Hebron were prevented from approaching an Israeli checkpoint.

Palestinians have reacted angrily to reports that their access to the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was being denied. A similar protest was organised in Gaza.

Earlier, Palestinian media said that Jewish settlers had invaded a mosque in Hebron.

The leader of the Palestinian group Hamas on Thursday called on Muslims to defend the compound in Jerusalem, saying Israel was trying to seize the site, revered in Islam and Judaism and focus of a Palestinian uprising in 2000.

On Friday Israeli riot police scuffled with Arab protesters outside the site.

Police had said earlier that an age limitation for men would be imposed, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied there are any moves to restrict Palestinian access to the compound and blamed “Palestinian extremists” for the violence.

The site in Jerusalem’s walled Old City has seen an increase in unrest in recent days.

Orthodox Jews have been pushing for easier access to the site during Jewish holidays.

There was more tension in the West Bank as a funeral procession was held for a 13-year-old boy shot dead by Israeli forces.

It is unclear whether the teenager was taking part in Thursday’s clashes, which the Israelis described as an “illegal riot”.

Soldiers responded with live fire to petrol bombs being thrown.