Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli authorities at Jerusalem's sacred Temple Mount or Noble Sanctuary entered the fourth day as Israeli police punched a Muslim worshiper in the face and used stun grenades to disperse a crowd of protesters.
Temple Mount is a place of worship in Jerusalem and is sacred to both Palestinians and Jews.
Israeli authorities are undertaking security upgrades at the site, drawing criticism from the Palestinians. As part of the protest, around 200 worshipers gathered near the Lions Gate, a historic site, and performed the afternoon prayer.
Following the prayer, worshippers voiced their concerns regarding the new security measure. Israeli police instructed them to leave the area, however, a small group refused to do so. As a result, the police started arresting protesters for “disturbing the peace.”
The measure led a much larger crowd to protest against the police. The authorities then used stun grenades and apparently punched a worshipper in the face. The incident was captured on camera.
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The events come in wake of an attack by a gunman that killed two Israeli policemen outside the compound. Authorities closed the site for both Muslim and non-Muslims worshippers as they searched for more weapons.
After the site was reopened, metal detectors were installed. Israeli officials said they were a permanent measure but many worshippers refused to go through them and preferred to pray outside the compound.
Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy had ordered the site to be closed for Jews after a group of Jewish visitors breached the rules and entered the site with prayer books and attempted to pray.
Following the unrest, the White House voiced its concerns regarding the issue and called for the authorities to assure public safety at the site and to maintain the status quo there.