Last updated: 23 February, 2012

Israel arrests 7 over Al-Aqsa confrontations

Israeli police on Thursday arrested seven Palestinians after confrontations with Jewish visitors at the Old City compound that houses the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

“A group of Jewish visitors were at the Temple Mount and were targeted by shouts and insults by Palestinians,” spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

“The police arrested four of them to prevent the type of confrontations we have seen this week,” she said, adding that another three Palestinians were also detained.

“Two of them (were arrested) because they were involved in causing trouble earlier this week and the third because we had information suggesting he was intending to cause trouble,” Samri said.

On Tuesday, Palestinian protesters hurled stones and shoes at police escorting Jewish and Christian visitors inside the flashpoint compound, leaving one police officer slightly wounded. Two Palestinians were arrested, police said.

And on Sunday, police used tear gas to disperse Palestinians who were throwing stones inside the compound, arresting 18 people.

The walled compound, which is known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), is home to the third holiest site in Islam.

The plaza is also venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site where King Herod’s temple stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

It is the holiest site in Judaism, but Jews are forbidden from worshipping there.