Israeli soldiers withdrew from al-Aqsa mosque area on Monday afternoon following clashes with dozens of Palestinian protestors who gathered in the mosque in an attempt to bar extremist settlers groups from entering the mosque.

The Israeli police installed roadblocks and barred residents under the age of 45 from entering the mosque area.
Earlier on Monday, the Israeli police and soldiers fired gas bombs at hundreds of residents during clashes which erupted between the residents and settlers after attempting to enter the mosque.
The police, and in spite of the repeated threats of some extremist Jewish groups to attack the mosque, allowed dozens of extremist into the mosque area which inflamed clashed between them and the Palestinian residents who gathered there.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, held Israel responsible of the clashes and of any possible attack against the mosque by the extremist groups.
The movement said that it will not ‘stand and watch the settlers attacking and endangering the mosque, especially amidst the repeated threats against it”.
Also, Hamas called on the Palestinians to be alert to the plans which aim to attack and destroy al-Aqsa mosque, and demanded the Arab countries to directly condemn these threats and act on the international level against the continuous violations.

Abbas blames Israel for Jerusalem clashes

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for Monday’s clashes between the Palestinian worshippers and the Israeli police on Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

Abbas said the Jews – who visited the site to mark day when Jerusalem was occupied in 1976, should not have been allowed into the mosque compound. ‘The Israeli government and the international community must stop these unjustified and dangerous violations. They are to prevent any friction with bad results,’ he said during a tour of a Palestinian high school in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Clashes in al-Aqsa mosque compound
Dozens of Israeli policemen entered al-Aqsa mosque yard, to protect settlers who entered the mosque area, in order to ‘celebrate’ the 37 anniversary of the occupation of Jerusalem in the 1967 war.
Clashes errupted between dozens of Palestinian youth who gathered at the mosque, and the police.
Lately, settler groups voiced several threats to attack the mosque and called on the settlers from all around the country to join them.
The Israeli police claimed that it allowed ‘Jewish groups to enter the mosque as part of the daily visits”, in spite of a ruling by an Israeli court to bar extremist right wing groups to enter the mosque, as a result of their repeated threats to assume control over it.
According to the Israeli police, hundreds of Palestinian youth hurled stones at the police and settlers who entered the mosque, and that two settlers were injured.
Officials of the Muslim Waqf  “the Islamic Trust” interfered and restored relative calm, after conducting enormous efforts to bar the police from carrying further actions which could inflame the area.
The police said that one Palestinian was arrested as he drew close to a settlers groups and ‘intended to attack them”, according to a police report.
During the clashes, the police fired stun grenades at dozens of youth who hurled stones at them and the settlers near the entrance gate of the mosque.
In September 2000, al-Aqsa Intifada inflamed after Ariel Sharon, who was the opposition leader at the time, entered al-Aqsa mosque along with a group of his armed bodyguards, which was seen as direct insult to the feeling of the Muslims and al-Aqsa mosque.