Israeli police storm Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem
Israeli police forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, using stun grenades and teargas against Palestinian worshippers inside, an official and eyewitnesses have said.
"The situation is very tense after occupation forces forced their way into the complex and assaulted Muslim worshippers without any justification," an official at the Jordanian Islamic Endowments Authority, which administers the Al-Aqsa compound, told Anadolu Agency.
An eyewitness said that a number of Palestinian worshippers suffered teargas inhalation inside the complex after Israeli police fired teargas at their direction through the western Al-Magharbeh Gate.
Turkish Anadolu Agency also reported a number of Jewish Israeli settlers attempting to storm the compound.
Israeli police spokesman Mikey Rosenfeld said on Twitter that three Israeli police officers have been "lightly" injured in clashes and that Al-Aqsa was open to "visitors."
Rosenfeld said a number of "masked Arabs threw stones/blocks/iron bars" at Israeli officers at Al-Magharbeh Gate.
A day earlier, Israeli police forces assaulted a number of young Palestinian worshippers outside Al-Aqsa's gates after worshippers protested Israel's decision to ban the entry of Palestinians below the age of 60 into the complex.
The decision prompted many Palestinian worshippers to perform Islamic prayers outside the complex over the past 24 hours.
Israel's restrictions came ahead of the 9-day Jewish Sukkot holiday, also known as the Feast of Booths, which started Wednesday.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site, while for Jews the area is known as the Temple Mount, the site of two prominent temples in Biblical history and is acclaimed as Judaism's holiest site.
Hundreds of elderly Gazans paid a rare visit to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday after Israel eased tight restrictions on movement over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
It was the first time since 2007 Muslim worshippers from Gaza were granted permission to travel to the ancient shrine in Jerusalem's Old City, an Israeli rights group said.
The move to ease access over the Muslim feast of sacrifice was announced by Israel just over a month after a ceasefire ended a 50-day war in Gaza which killed almost 2,200 Palestinians and 73 on the Israeli side.