Israeli security forces evacuate a Palestinian man who was denied passage at a checkpoint to attend the last Friday prayers of Ramadan in the Al- qsa mosque compound. AFP
Fresh clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque compound wounded 42 people on the last Friday of the Holy Month of Ramadan, following weeks of violence at the flashpoint religious site.
The Palestinian Red Crescent, which gave the toll, said no one was seriously hurt but 22 people were taken to hospital.
Israeli police released footage that showed young men on the compound hurling stones and fireworks in Friday's early hours. Officers entered the site at dawn.
A police statement said they went in to contain "rioters and lawbreakers," some of whom were trying to throw stones down towards the Western Wall.
Police said officers used "riot dispersal means" to contain the unrest and that two people had been arrested, one for throwing stones and the other one for "inciting the mob."
An AFP journalist said Israeli police fired rubber-coated bullets while a witness said they also used tear gas.
An uneasy calm had been restored at the compound following the unrest that surrounded morning prayers, but tensions remained high.
In the early afternoon, a crowd of Muslim worshippers gathered at Al Aqsa mosque. Some people waved Palestinian flags and the colours of the Gaza Strip-based Hamas group, an AFP journalist said.
The fresh unrest comes as the end of Ramadan nears early next week. Violence in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem has raised fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11-day war last year between Israel and Hamas, triggered in part by similar unrest at Al Aqsa.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders held a rally in Gaza late on Thursday, with calls to "defend" Jerusalem including Al Aqsa.
In separate calls with Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid, Blinken stressed "the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions..."
In a phone call, Abdullah was quoted as saying the cornerstone of peace was a comprehensive Arab Israeli settlement based on a two-state solution whereby a Palestinian state would emerge alongside Israel.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperationreiterated its firm position on the need to provide full protection for Al Aqsa Mosque and halt serious and provocative violations taking place there.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE, the Arab League, Egypt, Kuwait condemned the Israeli far-right flag march in East Jerusalem and in the precincts of the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third Holiest Shrine of the Muslims on Sunday. The Secretary-General of the GCC, Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, was responding to the march of thousands
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