Arrests at flashpoint Jerusalem mosque compound

Six Palestinians and six Israelis were arrested by Israeli police

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Israeli police said they arrested six Palestinians and six Israelis on Monday after a confrontation at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, the scene of frequent religious tensions.

"The Palestinians were arrested while trying to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said, using the Jewish name for the site which is sacred to both religions.

The security forces then arrested four Jews who broke the rule forbidding them to pray there, and two other Jews for causing disturbances, she said.

The esplanade is revered as the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam.

Jews are allowed to enter the compound, but are forbidden from praying there for fear of triggering tensions with Muslim worshippers.

Ultra-nationalist Jews however regularly visit the esplanade where they can be seen discreetly praying.

Israel seized east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, but the Palestinians want the eastern sector as capital of their future state.

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