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Jerusalem protests: Over 200 hospitalised as Israeli police clash with Palestinians
10 May 2021, 10:16 | Updated: 10 May 2021, 13:13
At least 200 Palestinians have been rushed to hospital after clashes between Israeli security forces and protesters at a Jerusalem holy site, medics have said.
Officers fired tear gas and stun grenades at crowds on Monday morning - some of them landing in the Al-Aqsa Mosque - prompting screams and cries for help from those inside.
Israeli security forces said Palestinians hurling stones, chairs and other objects at officers sparked the latest violence after days of mounting tensions between Palestinians and Israeli authorities in the city.
Jewish visitors have been temporarily banned from the holy site hours before the start of the Jerusalem Day march, which is widely perceived by Palestinians as a display of Jewish hegemony over the contested city.
The event - marking Israel's capture of East Jerusalem and its holy sites in 1967 - has been allowed to go ahead despite growing concerns it could further inflame tensions as hardline nationalists walk through Muslim areas of the city.
This year the march coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinians and about two dozen police officers have been hurt over the past few days amid the worst religious unrest in years.
Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.
The compound is the epicentre of the conflict and has been the trigger for rounds of Israel-Palestinian violence in the past.
The UN Security Council has scheduled closed consultations on the soaring tensions in Jerusalem, with a meeting requested by Tunisia - the Arab representative on the council.
Addressing a special Cabinet meeting ahead of Jerusalem Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel "will not allow any extremists to destabilise the calm" in the city.
"We will enforce law and order decisively and responsibly," he said, "he will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all faiths, but we will not allow violent disturbances."
"We emphatically reject the pressures not to build in Jerusalem."
The US has renewed its "serious concerns" about the situation, during a phone call between national security advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart.
Mr Sullivan urged Israel "to pursue appropriate measures to ensure calm during Jerusalem Day commemorations", according to a statement by National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne.