Jerusalem (Web Desk): Israeli police clashed with Muslim protestors at a flashpoint Jerusalem Old City shrine as hundreds of Jewish pilgrims headed there to mark a religious holiday.
The tensions and the Jewish pilgrimage on Sunday to the highly sensitive mosque compound in occupied East Jersusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site which is also known to Jews as the Temple Mount, were condemned by the Palestinians.
Israel’s right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stood by the state’s decision to allow Jews to visit the site.
According Israeli police, in the early hours of the morning Palestinian “youths began throwing stones at the Temple Mount esplanade towards police forces, who dispersed them”.
There were no official reports of arrests or injuries.
The EU delegation to the Palestinian territories in a tweet said it was “concerned over ongoing tensions” and urged that there be no “acts of incitement”.
It also called for respect for the site’s status quo and urged Israeli, religious and community leaders to urgently “calm down this explosive situation”.
The incident took place on the Jewish festival 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 lies in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied and annexed in 1967, but is administered by the Muslim Waqf organisation which grants Jews limited access.