Around 60,000 Muslim worshippers prayed at Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on the second Friday of Ramadan, after a night of violence.
From late Thursday night into early Friday Israeli police made over 50 arrests and Palestinian medics said 100 were injured during clashes in the contested city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Police in riot gear and on horseback fought to keep apart two groups of protesters — Palestinian youth hurling firecrackers and setting fire to garbage bins, and ultra-nationalist Israelis chanting anti-Arab slogans.
Clashes and other violent incidents between Palestinians and Israelis have occurred nightly since the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Worshippers clash with police
Palestinians say police have tried to prevent them from holding their usual Ramadan evening gatherings outside Damascus Gate, an historic landmark on the north side of the Old City and adjacent to several Palestinian neighbourhoods.
“There is clear intentions to stop worshippers, there is intention to make trouble, to make enemies with the worshippers and forbid them from reaching al-Aqsa mosque,” said Jerusalem resident Nour el-Dein Qrei.
Police say the measure is part of efforts to ensure Muslims can safely get to the main Islamic prayer site, revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem, including the eastern sector captured in the 1967 Middle East war, as its capital. Palestinians seek to make East Jerusalem, including its Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites, capital of a future state.
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