It is not yet clear what caused the outbreak of violence. The Islamic organization that runs the site said Israeli police entered the area shortly after dawn prayers when thousands of worshipers were at the mosque. Israel said its agents entered to remove rocks and stones collected in anticipation of the clashes.
Tensions have increased in recent weeks after a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians killed 14 people in Israel. The authorities in Jerusalem carried out a wave of arrests and military operations in the occupied West Bank, which led to the outbreak of clashes in which a number of Palestinians were killed. Tens of thousands of Palestinians usually gather at Al-Aqsa for Friday prayers, which are very crowded especially during the period when Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan.
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