Israeli police on Tuesday March 12th, closed the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem after clashes with dozens of Palestinians.
The clashes erupted after Israeli police prevented the call for prayer from Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and attacked Palestinians gathered outside Bab al-Asbat, one of main gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the evening prayer, Palestinian news agency WAFA cited witnesses.
Unrest at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site led Israeli police to shut off access to it on Tuesday after several weeks of tension at the location, according to AFP.
Police claimed they evacuated people the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, after a Molotov cocktail damaged a police post.
Video spread online of scuffles between police and Palestinians before the site was cleared.
More than 10 people were arrested, police said, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported two people hurt.
A police officer suffered from smoke inhalation, police said.
Police added they found a number of Molotov cocktails in searches of the site.
However, residents said police also restricted Palestinian access to Jerusalem's Old City, where the site is located. Worshippers later prayed outside the locked gates of the site in protest.
Mahmoud Al-Habash, adviser to Palestinian President for Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations, told “7dnews” that the police of the Israeli occupation responsible of all tension inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, although they have no legal authority over the mosque.
“The security and administrative responsibility in the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the exclusive right of the Islamic Waqfs, and will not accept the change of historical reality inside the Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound”, he said stressed.
Speaking from Ramallah to 7dnews, Al-Habash condemned the attack by the Israeli police against the citizens and worshipers inside Al-Haram, demanding the police stop the Israeli settlers from entering Al-Aqsa.
Access to the Golden Gate was closed in 2003 during the second Palestinian intifada over alleged militant activity there, police say.
Palestinian officials argue that the organisation that prompted the ban no longer exists and there is no reason for it to remain closed.