15 Israeli police wounded in riots in Jerusalem's Old City

Some 15 Israeli police were wounded in riots with Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld told Xinhua that 17 Palestinians were arrested as riots are still going on in Jerusalem.

Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians erupted earlier in the day when some 4,000 Muslim worshippers gathered at al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Friday prayers, Israel Radio reported.

Israeli police raided the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and hurled stun grenades at Muslims protesting there after demonstrators threw stones at the Western Wall area, the report said.

A Xinhua correspondent at the scene reported that face-off is still continuing between Israeli police and Palestinians near the Lions Gate of the old city of Jerusalem, and stones were hurled at the Israeli police forces.

Israeli helicopters are hovering over the Old City and a zeppelin is monitoring the situation in the compound and the Western Wall Plaza.

A police officer guarding the entrance of the Western Wall Plaza told Xinhua that the situation in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has returned quiet now, and Muslim worshipers remain in the compound started to leave the mosque.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tul Karem, thousands of angry Palestinians took to the streets, shouting slogans against Israel and demanding the renovation work be stopped.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority on Tuesday began a salvage excavation in the Jerusalem Archeological Park, sitting beneath the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, for the purpose of erecting supporting pillars for a permanent and safe bridge leading to the entrance of the compound.

Although Israel said the excavations will not impose threat to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Muslims, Arab countries in the Middle East condemned Israel's move and expressed their concern that the excavation could undermine the peace efforts in the region.

Source: Xinhua

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