The protests have grown daily since Al-Aqsa was reopened on Sunday after a two-day closure in response to shootout that killed two Israeli police officers and three Palestinians. The leading faction in the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, called for a "Day of Rage" on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, though many of the chants during Tuesday night protests were directed against the PA itself.
The preacher of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, was discharged from hospital yesterday after he was injured by an Israeli rubber bullet a day earlier. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Sabri vowed to pursue protests against new Israeli security measures around the holy site.
"We will pray on the streets around Al-Aqsa mosque until Israeli metal detectors are removed," a defiant Sabri said.
Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah said "we refuse these dangerous measures that will lead to a ban on the freedom of worship and will obstruct the movement of the faithful". Palestinian PM called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to hold an urgent meeting over increasing tension in the holy city and Israel's violations.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 34 people were injured in the resulting clashes as police forced the worshippers away. The imam was among scores of Palestinians injured during clashes with Israeli forces in east Jerusalem late Tuesday.
Palestinians have, however, accused Israel of trying to alter the "status quo," a delicate balance of prayer and visiting rights at the holy site-by imposing searches on worshippers. Sabri told Anadolu Agency on Monday that Israel was trying to "impose its sovereignty over Al-Aqsa" and called for Muslims not to enter the mosque until the metal detectors are removed.
Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians fearing Israel may one day seek to assert further control over it. It is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community. It is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews. Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.