World News

Protests erupt as Israel shuts Jerusalem mosque area

A Palestinian woman in front of the Dome of the Rock, on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount in this September 2009 file photo. Israeli police shut a compound housing Islam's holiest sites in Jerusalem on Sunday and fired tear gas as dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and bottles . REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police shut a compound housing Islam’s holiest sites in Jerusalem on Sunday and fired tear gas as dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks and bottles in protest, witnesses and Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

Palestinian medical officials said nine people were treated for minor injuries including tear gas inhalation. Israel said one policeman was hurt by a rock.

Last week 30 people were injured in similar clashes near the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City and Palestinians warned of a possible new uprising.

Israeli security forces beefed up security on Sunday in the area where Jews attended holiday prayers at the Western Wall, remnant of an ancient temple which is Judaism’s holiest site, next to the mosque compound.

Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian-appointed governor of Jerusalem, said Israeli police had denied entry to the compound where the al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine are located, but that some worshippers had been there since the previous evening.

An Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, confirmed that the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, had been “shut to visitors.”

Rosenfeld said Israel had also detained a Palestinian official, Khatem Abdel Khader, a Palestinian official in charge of Jerusalem, on suspicion he was trying to incite protests at the site.

“The situation is very tense in the Old City,” Husseini said, of the section of Arab East Jerusalem Israel captured in 1967 and annexed as part of its capital in a move not recognised internationally.

Shmuel Ben-Ruby, a Jerusalem police spokesman, said police were dispersing protesters in the Old City who threw stones and bottles at them, and that three had been arrested. There were no reported injuries.

Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Dominic Evans