Israeli Forces and Palestinians Clash in Jerusalem for Second Day

Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque complex for the second day running on Monday, leading to the arrest of three people, Israeli police said.

Police reportedly entered the compound where clashes ensued with Palestinians. The site is sacred to both Muslims, who consider the site the third-holiest in Islam, and Jews, who refer to the site as the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

"As the police entered the compound masked youths fled inside the mosque and threw stones at the force," a police statement said, according to The Times of Israel. Police confirmed that three arrests were made, saying that they had entered the compound to stop Muslims harassing visitors during morning visits to the complex. Non-Muslims can visit the compound but Jews are not allowed to pray on the site.

Clashes began ahead of the beginning of the Jewish new year, known as Rosh Hashanah, and came after two unofficial 'Muslim patrols', Murabitun and Murabatat, were banned from the compound by Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon last week. He claimed that the step was taken to protect national security and public order because of the "creation of tensions and violence on the Temple Mount."

Last month, a Christian tourist was beaten by four Muslim men for raising an Israeli flag at the site. The Muslim men were detained and the 35-year-old Christian man may face charges for incitement because of the sensitivity surrounding the complex.

Clashes on Sunday saw police fire rubber-coated steel bullets and throw stun grenades at Muslim worshippers in the complex, according to Palestinian witnesses. "They were chasing us with [stun] grenades and it's been like that since the morning," Khadijeh Khweis, a Muslim worshipper, told Agence France-Presse.

However, Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said that the forces had entered the compound on Sunday to prevent Palestinian attacks on Jews visiting the compound.

Israel captured the area surrounding the complex, East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Six Day War, but left the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the administration of a Jordanian-Palestinian-led Islamic Waqf (Islamic Trust) because of the potential repercussions from Muslims in the region if they seized the complex.

In the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this year, Israeli authorities restricted the permission of hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to enter Jerusalem to pray at the mosque after a rocket launch from the coastal enclave. Such restrictions on the mosque have heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israeli authorities over the site.