JERUSALEM – Clashes between Israeli riot police and Palestinians erupted at one of the holiest sites in Jerusalem early on Friday, the first day of a rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter, culminating weeks of escalating violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank.
The clashes between the Israelis and Palestinians throwing stones lasted for hours at the site, the Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, as tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers were gathered there for dawn prayers on the second Friday of Ramadan, the holy fasting month.
Many more people were expected to pour into the Old City during the day for the Muslim weekly Friday Prayer and to celebrate Good Friday and the first night of Passover, which begins at sundown.
The Israeli police fired sound grenades and rubber bullets during hours of clashes at the site, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. The police expelled many of the worshipers, but some returned afterwards. At least 117 Palestinians were injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. The Israeli police said that several officers had also been injured.