Dozens of Palestinians wounded in clash with Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque during confluence of holy days

Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque
(Image credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli security forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem early Friday as thousands of Palestinians were gathered for prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. Medics with the Red Crescent say at least 117 Palestinians were wounded in the ensuing melee, some by rubber-coated bullets or stun grenades and others beaten with batons. Israel said three officers were wounded from "massive stone-throwing."

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is on a site holy for both Muslims and Jews, and it has been at the center of several significant clashes between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Israel's Foreign Ministry said officers were responding to dozens of masked men who had marched to the compound early Friday and started gathering stones in anticipation of violence, and "police were forced to enter the grounds to disperse the crowd and remove the stones and rocks, in order to prevent further violence."

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Tensions were already high before Friday's clash. Israel has responded to a spate of attacks that left 14 people dead inside Israel with police raids and military operations across the occupied West Bank. At least 25 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, AP reports, "many of whom had carried out attacks or were involved in the clashes, but also an unarmed woman and a lawyer who appears to have been killed by mistake."

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