Israeli forces have clashed with Palestinian protesters in the occupied East al - Quds(Jerusalem) on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Palestinians’ second Intifada.
Clashes broke out on Friday after Israeli troops attacked a group of Palestinians in the Old City, who were protesting against an increase in Jewish visits to the al - Aqsa Mosque compound. At least nine Palestinians were arrested. Similar protests against the entry by Jewish groups under police escort to the al - Aqsa Mosque compound were also held in the West Bank cities of Nablus and al - Khalil(Hebron). Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians have rallied in the Gaza Strip to demand an end to Jewish visits to al - Aqsa Mosque. Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas made a public appeal for a halt to the al - Aqsa visits during a speech at the United Nations on Thursday.
" There must be an end to the near - daily attacks on the religious sites in Occupied al - Quds, at the forefront of which is al - Aqsa Mosque, where the continuation of such attacks will have dire consequences, " Abbas said.
The second Palestinian intifada (Palestinian uprising against Israel) broke out on September 28, 2000, after a visit by then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Some 300 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops during the five-year Intifada. The al-Aqsa compound is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews. The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. It is Islam's third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Jews are not allowed to pray inside the compound.