More than 150 hurt in Jerusalem clashes as religious festivals overlap
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More than 150 people were wounded Friday in clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the first face-off at the flashpoint holy site since the start of Ramadan.
Israeli police said "dozens of masked men" marched into Al-Aqsa setting off fireworks before crowds hurled stones towards the Western Wall -- considered the holiest site where Jews can pray.
Witnesses said Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated bullets and sound grenades.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 153 people were hospitalised and "dozens" of others were treated at the scene. Israeli police said at least three officers were hurt.
Around 400 people were arrested, the Palestinian Prisoner's Club said.
Al-Aqsa is Islam's third-holiest site. Jews refer to it as the Temple Mount, referencing two temples said to have stood there in antiquity.
Last year during Ramadan, clashes that flared between Israeli forces and Palestinians visiting the mosque compound led to 11 days of devastating conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip's Islamist rulers Hamas.
Friday's clashes come after three weeks of violence and simmering tensions in the Jewish state.
Clashes between Palestinians and police outside Al-Aqsa Mosque Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/mFTyO7xwFm— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) April 15, 2022
Israel has been stunned by a string of attacks -- some carried out by Arab citizens of Israel linked to or inspired by the Islamic State group, others by Palestinians, and cheered by militant groups including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
A total of 14 people have been killed in four attacks since March 22, including a shooting spree in Bnei Brak, an Orthodox Jewish city in greater Tel Aviv, carried out by a Palestinian attacker from Jenin.
Twenty-one Palestinians have been killed in that time, including assailants who targeted Israelis, according to an AFP tally.