Israelis and Palestinians Clash in Jerusalem

Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators clashed in Jerusalem shortly after the second weekly Friday prayers in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

A press release, issued by Palestinians' Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC), said the Israeli forces fired tear gas against the Palestinian demonstrators near the Lion Gate of Jerusalem's Old City.

The JMCC said the clashes occurred when Israeli security forces tried to bar some of the Palestinians from attending the prayers in a disputed shrine, which is known to the Palestinians as Al-Haram Al-Sharif and to Israelis as the Temple Mount.

It added that five Palestinians were injured in the clashes, including one in serious condition. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Israeli police told Xinhua that one Israeli policeman was also injured.

The renewed clashes have caused worries that a new wave of violence may surge after the two sides have clashed for more than two months, during which over 300 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed and thousands more wounded.

The violence erupted on September 28 when Israeli opposition Likud leader Ariel Sharon paid a provocative visit to Al-Haram Al- Sharif, Islam's third holiest site.

Earlier, Israel Radio reported that about 100,000 Muslims attended the Friday prayers, which "ended peacefully."

The Israeli government on Thursday extended a ban on the Palestinians in the West Bank from entering Jerusalem to perform prayers on Friday at the holy site "due to security concerns."

The Palestinians have expressed hope that the restrictions on Muslim prayer attendees, which were imposed since the eruption of the violence, would be eased because of the Ramadan.

To mark the holy month, the two sides have adopted a series of peace-encouraging measures in a bid to reduce the tensions.

People's Daily Online ---