Tensions are running high in the Old City of Jerusalem following clashes between Israeli security forces and dozens of Palestinians who had moved inside the compound that houses the revered Al Aqsa mosque.

Sunday's clashes began after Israeli police entered the compound, where many Palestinian youth had stayed overnight, fearing a Jewish takeover of the site on occasion of their festival, Purim. Arab media reports say around 200 Israeli soldiers and police had surrounded the mosque.

Using loudspeakers, they called for the evacuation of the site. In turn, the Palestinians used the minarets of the mosque to call for support.

Tensions spiralled quickly as Sunday's incidents follow vociferous on-going protests by Palestinians on Israel's recent decision to include in its heritage list, two sites in the West Bank which are also sacred to Islam.

The fall-out of ongoing religious tensions is now being felt on other parts of the region. In neighbouring Jordan, members of professional bodies, political parties, and the Islamic Action Front have urged Arab leaders to protest against Israel's actions. They urged Jordan to annul its peace treaty with Israel “as a first move in defending the holy sites”.

Keywords: JeruselamAl Aqsaclashes

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