Police, Palestinians clash at Jerusalem holy site

June 10, 2011 - 8:27 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli policemen entered a sensitive Jerusalem holy site Friday and used stun grenades to disperse dozens of Palestinian protesters who were hurling stones at security personnel, police said.

The scene of the clash was the Old City compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Israeli spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police entered the compound after Palestinians began lobbing stones at security forces stationed outside one of the gates. The clash began immediately after Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd, he said.

Officers made three arrests, no one was injured and order was quickly restored, Rosenfeld said.

The compound, holy to Jews and Muslims and captured by Israel in 1967, is one of the most combustible sites on earth. Clashes there in the past have ignited broader violence.

A Muslim clerical body known as the Waqf runs the compound under Israel's overall security control.

Also Friday, a Hamas leader said Israel had stepped up a campaign of arrests against members of the Islamic militant group in the West Bank, which Israel controls.

Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said around 100 Hamas members had been arrested by the Israeli military in the last two weeks in the West Bank, including eight of the group's leaders.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

The Western-backed Fatah, which governs Palestinian population centers in the West Bank and has also carried out arrests of Hamas members, recently signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas and has scaled back pressure on the rival group.

The reconciliation followed a four-year split after Hamas' bloody seizure of Gaza Strip that left Fatah in control only of the Weset Bank.