JERUSALEM, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Israeli forces forced their way into Jerusalem’s al-Awsa Mosque on Monday after Palestinians barricaded themselves inside as part of growing tensions at the site.
The holy site is known as the Temple Mount for Jews and the Noble Sanctuary, or al-Aqsa Mosque, for Muslims in the Old City of Jerusalem.
The entry to the complex in Jerusalem was restricted Sunday evening after there was violence earlier. Israeli police prevented Muslim men under the age of 50 from visiting the shrine, which led a group of young Palestinians to barricade the doors.
Early Monday, Israeli police began entering the site in an attempt to suppress the Palestinians, who allegedly threw stones and firebombs at police. No police were hurt in the incident and at least 15 Palestinians were injured.
Visitation at the complex was re-established at about noon. Talks to facilitate the exit of the barricaded Palestinians between Israeli officials and the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, the mosque’s religious custodian, failed, leading to the police raid.
The holy complex in the Old City is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. An agreement established about 50 years ago allows Jews and other religions to enter the compound between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. local time, but none are allowed to pray.
Several Muslims accuse far-right Jews of provoking them by praying at the site. Some Muslims also accuse Jewish extremists of attempting to take over the compound.