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Israeli police and Palestinians clash at al-Aqsa on Jerusalem Day

Tensions in the city run high as Israelis mark their 1967 capture of Jerusalem's east, while Muslims observe final days of Ramadan
Israeli security forces gather at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem (AFP)

Palestinians and the Israeli police clashed in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa compound on Sunday as tensions ratcheted up in the city with an Israeli holiday coinciding with the last days of Ramadan. 

Israelis are marking Jerusalem Day, when they celebrate their country's capture and occupation of the city's east in 1967.

A march has been planned through the Old City, including in the Muslim Quarter, which has particularly angered Palestinians who are observing the final days of the holy month of Ramadan.

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Ahead of the march, Palestinians were urged to occupy the al-Aqsa compound, in an act of defiance against Jewish Israelis who were expected to enter the holy site in a move seen as controversial and provocative.

The al-Aqsa compound is one of the holiest sites in Islam. It is also believed to be the location of the Jewish temple that was destroyed 2,000 years ago.

In response to Palestinians rallying in al-Aqsa, Israeli police raided the compound.

The Waqf, an Islamic organisation that oversees the site, said Israeli police fired rubber bullets and used pepper spray against Palestinians as they cracked down on the rally. Two Palestinians were arrested, the Waqf said.

In a statement, the police said protesters had barricaded themselves in the al-Aqsa Mosque and threw chairs and stones at forces who were attempting to "disperse" them.

Palestinian medics evacuate a man at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of Jerusalem (AFP)
Palestinian medics evacuate a man at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of Jerusalem (AFP)

Jews entered the al-Aqsa compound on Sunday for the first time since Tuesday, according to activists.

Because of the site's sensitivities, Jews are not allowed to pray there. A higher than usual number of Jews are expected to visit the compound to mark Jerusalem Day.

Tens of thousands of Israelis are set to march through the city and congregate at the Western Wall, which lies below the compound.

Jerusalem's Old City was captured by the Israeli military in the 1967 Middle East war alongside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it has been under occupation ever since.