JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police hurled stun grenades to disperse dozens of protesters who threw stones outside the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, after Friday prayers.
Two people were slightly injured and one person was arrested for attempting to stab a policeman as he was being taken into custody, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The mosque is part of a site revered by Jews as well as Muslims, and is a frequent source of friction between these religious groups. Deadly riots erupted at the same site after a visit by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, at the outset of a several year Palestinian uprising in 2000.
Tensions flared this week after police arrested Israeli ultranationalists who tried to hold prayers at the compound, known by Jews as the Temple Mount, as the site of two biblical temples.
That incident occurred during a seven-day Jewish holiday, a time of pilgrimage to the adjacent Western Wall remnant of the second temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, now a focal point of Jewish prayer.
The compound where al-Aqsa stands, which Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary, also houses the golden Dome of the Rock which marks the spot from which the Prophet Mohammad made his night journey to heaven.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in a 1967 war including the walled old city where the holy sites are located, and annexed it as part of its capital in a move never recognized internationally.
Palestinians want that part of the city as capital of a state they seek in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Jon Boyle