100 Palestinian Muslims severely injured inside Al Aqsa compound by Israeli Forces

100 Palestinian Muslims severely injured inside Al Aqsa compound by Israeli Forces

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Clashes erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site Thursday as thousands of Muslim worshippers entered to end a boycott of the compound over new Israeli security measures.

An AFP correspondent witnessed the clashes break out shortly after the worshippers entered.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported around 100 people wounded both inside the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and in the immediate area.

Outside, clashes in one area erupted when a group of policemen walked in the middle of a crowd. Palestinians threw plastic bottles and Israeli forces fired stun grenades.

Israeli police said stones were thrown at officers inside the compound.

"Upon the entry of worshippers into the Temple Mount compound, some began throwing stones at officers, during which some stones fell into the Western Wall plaza," Israeli police said in a statement, referring to the Jewish holy site below the compound.

"A police force at the site pushed back those disrupting the orders using riot dispersal means. An officer was hit by a stone on his head. He was treated at the site."

Thousands of worshippers earlier streamed into the compound for afternoon prayers for the first time in two weeks, ending a boycott after Israel removed controversial new security measures, installed after a July 14 attack killed two policemen.

The site includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Some cried as they entered while others shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest). Some brought their children in what was initially a celebratory atmosphere.

Muslims had in previous days refused to enter the compound and prayed in the streets outside after Israel installed the new security measures.

Palestinians viewed the move as Israel asserting further control over the site.

Israeli authorities said the measures, including metal detectors, were needed because the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the compound and emerged from it to attack the officers.

For evening prayers later Thursday following the clashes, it appeared Israeli police were allowing people to leave the compound, but not enter through at least one main gate.

A few dozen people were attempting to pray outside.