Clashes at Temple Mount as Jewish and Muslim festivals collide

Muslim-Jewish clashes continued on Temple Mount in Jerusalem this morning after police last night restricted access to the site, which is holy to both religions, to Muslim men aged over 50 and women of all ages.

The restrictions were imposed after after masked Palestinian youths threw stones and firecrackers at Israeli police and border police at Temple Mount, home of  the Al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem Post reported

The latest problems at the contested holy site are occurring at the intersection of two of the main festivals of Judaism and Islam: the start of Succot and the end of Eid al-Adha.

Israeli policemen stand guard as a group of Jewish youths leave after visiting the compound which houses al-Aqsa mosque, in Jerusalem's Old City September 22, 2015.Reuters

Police said restrictions were imposed after attempts by "extremist and violent elements" to disturb the order and violate the sanctity of the vicinity and the holiday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted that no Jewish visitors had been allowed into the mosque area where the violence occurred. He said: "The Temple Mount was closed today to Jewish visitors for the last day of Eid al-Adha, but Palestinian rioters still started clashes.

"Palestinian rioters who couldn't find Jewish visitors to attack on the the Temple Mount, started throwing rocks and firecrackers at the Mughrabi Gate.

"Israel upholds the status quo on the Temple Mount. Those who violate it are Palestinian rioters who smuggle pipe bombs and firecrackers into it."

The latest clashes followed violence earlier this month in the run-up to Rosh Hashana when an Israeli police officer was injured and some people arrested for throwing stones. 

And the violence continued into this morning. 

Al Jazeera said that earlier today, Israeli security forces at Temple Mount "fought" with Palestinian worshippers. Eye witnesses told the TV stations of conflicts with worshippers who have barricaded themselves at the mosque. There were claims that about 15 Palestinians were injured.

During Sukkot, many Jewish people visit the old city of Jerusalem where Temple Mount is based. Non-Muslims are are allowed to enter the compound between 7:30am and 11:30am but are not allowed to pray. Palestinian worshippers told Al Jazeera that some far-right Jews had been provoking them by praying in spite of the ban.