Israelis, Palestinians Clash at Jerusalem's Holiest Site

Sharon's 2000 visit to contested shrine sparked years of violence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2009 11:36 AM CDT
Masked Palestinian youths throw stones at Israeli policemen, not seen, during clashes in the Arab neighborhood of Ras Al Amud in east Jerusalem, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009.   (Ariel Schalit)
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(Newser) – Israeli forces stormed Jerusalem's holiest shrine today, firing stun grenades to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing Palestinian protesters in a fresh eruption of violence in the country's most volatile spot. A wall of Israeli riot police behind plexiglass shields sent many protesters—overwhelmingly young men—running for cover into the black-domed al-Aqsa mosque.

After several rounds of clashes, dozens of protesters were still holed up inside the mosque at midafternoon, occasionally opening shuttered doors to throw objects at police. The Israeli forces did not enter the building and police said they had no plans to do so. There were no serious injuries. A visit in 2000 by Ariel Sharon, then an Israeli opposition leader, ignited deadly clashes that engulfed Israel and the Palestinian territories for several years.