Israeli police fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque commune as hundreds of Jewish pilgrims marched there to mark a religious holiday.
Tensions and the Jewish pilgrimage Sunday to the highly sensitive mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, also known by Jews as the Temple Mount, have been condemned by the Palestinians.
Israel’s nationalist right-wing prime minister, Naftali Bennett, supported the state’s decision to allow Jews to visit the site.
According to Israeli police, in the early hours of the morning Palestinians “young people began throwing stones on the esplanade of Temple Mount towards police forces, who dispersed them.”
There have been no official reports of arrests or injuries.
The EU delegation to the Palestinian territories in a tweet said it was “concerned about the ongoing tensions” and ordered that there be no “acts of incitement”.
He also demanded respect for the status quo of the site and urged Israeli, religious and community leaders to “urgently calm this explosive situation.”
The incident took place on the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’av, marking the day of the year thousands of years ago when, according to tradition, both Jewish temples located on the Temple Mount were destroyed.
The holy site is located in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied and annexed in 1967, but is administered by the Muslim organization Waqf which gives Jews limited access.
A spokesman for a Jewish group encouraging such visits told the AFP news agency that 1,679 pilgrims were in the compound at the mosque on Sunday afternoon and after noon.
The Waqf condemned the “violations and attacks” carried out by “Jewish fanatical groups, with the support and political coverage of the Israeli government,” it said in a statement carried by the official Palestinian website Wafa, saying that Israel “aims at a religious war “».
The Palestinian Authority has accused Israel of “manipulating the security and stability of the region” by allowing the “incursion” of pilgrims.
Bennett, who is of Israeli religious justice, is sworn in, but leads a coalition including a left-wing and a party of Palestinian citizens of Israel, said he had “ordered organized and safe visits of Jews to Mt. of the Temple continued, maintaining order on the site. ”
In a second statement following the condemnations of Waqf and PA, Bennett stressed that “freedom of worship on the Temple Mount will be fully preserved even for Muslims,” pointing out the upcoming Eid al-Adha festival.
Two years ago, when Jewish and Muslim holidays coincided, the violence on the site left dozens of Palestinians injured and led to seven arrests.