Israel: At least 57 injured in violence at Al Aksa mosque between police and Palestinians

JERUSALEM, April 22 (Reuters) – At least 57 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police at the Al Aksa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Friday, medics said.

Israeli police said they responded to rocks and firecrackers being thrown near the Western Wall, a place of prayer for Jews. A policewoman was injured by a stone and a tree caught fire, hit by a firecracker, the police said.

According to witnesses, the police entered the compound of the Al Aksa mosque after the morning prayers of Ramadan and fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at the faithful present, some of whom threw stones at them.

Police also used a drone to drop tear gas, the mosque director said.

This outbreak of violence raises fears of the resumption of a major conflict, like the one that opposed the Jewish state last year to the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Hamas fighters “have their fingers on the trigger and we will defend the Al Aksa mosque with all our might,” said Mushir al Masri, an official with the movement.

Since March, Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and 14 people have been killed in street attacks in Israel, medics say. (Report Sinan Abu Mayzer, Amar Awad, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; written by Henriette Chacar, French version Laetitia Volga, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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