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More violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Israeli police have clashed with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque a second time, witnesses say.

The renewed clashes on Wednesday occurred hours after the arrest and removal of more than 350 people in a police raid at the compound and despite a US appeal to ease tensions.

The confrontations, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday, triggered a cross-border exchange of fire in Gaza and stoked fears of further violence, Reuters has reported.

In the second instance, late at night, police entered the compound and tried to evacuate worshippers, using stun grenades and firing rubber bullets, staff of the Waqf, the Jordanian-appointed Islamic organisation managing the complex told Reuters on Wednesday.

Worshippers threw objects at police, witnesses said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said six people were injured.

In a statement, police said dozens of youngsters brought rocks and firecrackers into the mosque and had tried to barricade themselves inside. The Waqf, however, said police entered the mosque before prayers were over.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “Israel’s raid into Al-Aqsa mosque, its assault on worshippers, is a slap to recent US efforts which tried to create calm and stability during the month of Ramadan.”

Less than 24 hours earlier, police raided the mosque to try to remove what they said were masked agitators who locked themselves inside after attempts to remove them by dialogue failed.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said 12 Palestinians were injured in the earlier clash, including from rubber-tipped bullets and beatings. Israeli police said two officers were injured.

White House national security spokesman, John Kirby voiced concern about the violence at the mosque and said it was imperative that Israelis and Palestinians de-escalate tensions.