Sporadic clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians hit Jerusalem’s Old City and a checkpoint outside Ramallah Tuesday, with tensions heightened as Jews celebrated their Sukkot holiday.
The incidents followed fresh clashes Monday at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, where security forces fired stun grenades and tear gas and Palestinians threw stones and petrol bombs while barricading themselves inside the shrine.
Tuesday’s disturbances in Jerusalem occurred on the margins of the Al-Aqsa compound, with an increase in the number of Jewish visitors expected due to the eight-day Sukkot holiday that began Sunday night.
Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site in Islam but known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the most sacred in Judaism. It has been hit by repeated clashes in recent weeks as Jews celebrated a series of religious holidays.
The clashes outside Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, saw dozens of youths throw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with water cannon and rubber bullets, an AFP journalist reported.
The violence occurred on the sidelines of a demonstration organised by Palestinian organisations, in part over the Israeli raids at the Al-Aqsa compound. Israeli authorities said the raids at the sensitive site were necessary to stop rioters from disrupting visits there.
Israeli police also said they had arrested 12 Palestinians overnight in annexed east Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa compound is located, including several in connection with the clashes at the site.
Israel seized east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
Palestinians fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the Al-Aqsa compound, which allow Jews to visit but not pray to avoid provoking tensions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said repeatedly that he is committed to the status quo there.