Israel police enter flashpoint Jerusalem holy site, arrest 2

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police have entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, two days after clashes with Palestinians.

The police cleared Palestinians out of the sprawling esplanade outside the mosque itself early Sunday, while dozens of Palestinians remained inside the building chanting “God is Greatest.”

The police said they entered to facilitate the routine visit of Jews to the holy site. They said Palestinians had stockpiled stones and set up barriers in anticipation of violence. The police said they were committed to facilitating freedom of worship for Jews and Muslims.

The site is the third holiest in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. It has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Clashes erupted at the site before dawn on Friday after police said Palestinians had hurled stones toward the Western Wall, an adjacent Jewish holy site. Police entered in force and clashed with dozens of Palestinians shortly after dawn prayers.

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