Dozens of Palestinians were left injured after Israeli security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at Muslim worshippers as they were exiting Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque after Friday prayers, according to a Palestinian official.
"At least 60 soldiers entered the mosque compound, where they used teargas and stun grenades to disperse worshipers after Friday prayers," Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem's Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority, said in a statement.
"Fifteen Palestinians were reportedly injured, including three mosque guards," he added.
According to al-Dibs, the Israeli authorities have sealed the compound's Al-Qibali Mosque with iron chains and prevented Palestinian worshippers from entering it.
Israeli soldiers have also been using disproportionate force against Palestinians protesting in the Gaza Strip since March.
Protesters demand the "right of return" to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
They also demand an end to Israel's 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave's economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.
For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount", claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
In late 2000, a visit to the Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked a years-long popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians lost their lives.