6 Oct 2009

Trouble at mosque in Jerusalem

1:07 pm on 6 October 2009

Thousands of Israeli police officers have been deployed in and around the Old City in Jerusalem.

The BBC reports access to the area around the Al Aksa mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, was restricted for a second day after sporadic clashes between police and Muslim protestors.

Protesters threw stones and bottles. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Palestinians say they are trying to protect the site, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, from Jewish hardliners, who they fear intend to desecrate it.

There were similar protests a week ago in which 30 people were injured.

Security has been boosted at the compound as Jews attend prayers for the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles at the Western Wall.

The BBC reports the compound has been a flashpoint in the past for trouble between Israelis and Palestinians, notably after the visit of then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon in 2000.