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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Israeli police enter al-Aqsa compound
Western or Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock
The Temple Mount is often a scene of tension
Israeli police entered the Muslim mosque compound on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem - known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif.

The police threw stun grenades at Palestinian youths after rocks hit Jewish worshippers at the Western or Wailing Wall below the compound. Jewish worshippers were briefly evacuated.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage at the compound. The situation seems to have calmed and police have withdrawn.

Police officials said they acted after Palestinian youths began throwing rocks at Israeli officers at an entrance to the mosque compound and some rocks fell on Jewish worshippers.

"It was thought they were intending to throw rocks into the plaza where [Jewish] worshippers were, so police entered the compound and fired a few stun grenades," a police spokesman said.

"People were told to leave the Wall plaza below, and the Waqf [Islamic religious authority] then helped calmed the situation down."

The incident occurred at the end of Friday prayers at the two mosques at the Haram al-Sharif - often a tense time in East Jerusalem.

The Western Wall is the most sacred site in Judaism, while the al-Aqsa mosque above is the third holiest site in Islam.

The Temple Mount has been a flashpoint for tensions in the past.

A visit there by the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, two years ago - when he was opposition leader - is widely seen as one of the sparks that ignited the current Palestinian uprising.


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27 Aug 02 | Middle East
04 Jul 02 | Middle East
20 Mar 02 | Middle East
28 Sep 00 | issues
28 Sep 00 | Mideast Peace Process
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