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Israel re-open al-Aqsa mosque gates after hours of closure

Published: Updated:

Israeli police reopened al-Aqsa mosque gates after hours of closure on Friday, when clashes erupted with Palestinian worshippers following midday prayers.

Muslim worshippers returned to the site around four hours after they were forced out by police using tear gas.

Earlier, the waqf, the religious authority that runs the mosque, confirmed the gates were closed after clashes broke out, as AFP reported.

Reuters news agency reported that masked youth cracked fireworks in the direction of Israeli police near the mosque on Friday and police charged the mosque compound to confront them. It was not immediately clear if the entry of the police happened before or after the fireworks.

An Israeli police spokesman said firecrackers and stones were lobbed at the police at al-Aqsa mosque compound “for an unknown reason”. Police were clearing the compound in response, he said.

The compound is a frequent flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian tensions.