The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 88 people were hospitalised while most of the wounded suffered injuries to the face and eyes caused by rubber bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades.

Israeli security forces deploy next to the Dome of the Rock mosque amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on May 7, 2021.
Israeli security forces deploy next to the Dome of the Rock mosque amid clashes with Palestinian protesters at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on May 7, 2021. (Ahmad Gharabli / Getty Images)

Israeli police have attacked Muslim worshippers inside the Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City as weeks-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians over Jerusalem soared again.

At least 205 Palestinians and six officers were injured in the night-time clashes at Islam's third-holiest site and around East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said, as thousands of Palestinians faced off with several hundred Israeli police in riot gear.

The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 88 people were hospitalised  while most of the wounded suffered injuries to the face and eyes from rubber-coated bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades.

The clashes were the latest in a deadly day that saw Israeli forces shoot and kill two Palestinians after three men allegedly opened fire on an Israeli base in the occupied West Bank.

READ MORE: Israeli troops kill two Palestinians after alleged West Bank attack

Protests over possible evictions 

Protests erupted when Israeli police deployed heavily as Muslims were performing evening prayers at Al Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Israeli police closed gates leading to Al Aqsa inside the walled Old City.

Dozens of Palestinians in an occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood are at risk of being evicted following a long legal battle with Israeli illegal settlers, and Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli police in the city on a nightly basis since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The unrest has drawn attention from across the region, with neighbouring Jordan warning Israel against further "provocative" steps, and Iran seizing on the sensitivities around Jerusalem and encouraging the violence.

READ MORE: UN warns Israel East Jerusalem land grab can amount to war crimes

Some 70,000 worshippers attended the final Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al Aqsa, the Islamic endowment that oversees the site said. 

Thousands protested afterwards, waving the green flags of Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans before dispersing peacefully.

Israelis and Palestinians are bracing for more violence in the coming days.

In recent days, protesters have scuffled with police and illegal settlers over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. 

Israeli security looks on as they stand by a burning car in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem on May 6, 2021, amidst confrontations between Israeli security and Palestinian demonstrators in solidarity with local Palestinian families facing eviction as part of an ongoing effort by Jewish Israelis to take control of homes in the neighbourhood.
Israeli security looks on as they stand by a burning car in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem on May 6, 2021, amidst confrontations between Israeli security and Palestinian demonstrators in solidarity with local Palestinian families facing eviction as part of an ongoing effort by Jewish Israelis to take control of homes in the neighbourhood. (AFP)

Several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with Israeli settler groups trying to acquire property in the neighbourhood north of the Old City.

READ MORE: In pictures: A night of Israeli aggression in Jerusalem

READ MORE: Israeli intellectuals warn ICC not to trust Tel Aviv in war crimes probe

Israeli annexation

Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians want for their future state — in the 1967 Mideast war. 

Israel annexed and occupied East Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally and views the entire city as its capital.

The Palestinians view East Jerusalem — which includes major holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims — as their capital, and its fate is one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict.

READ MORE: European powers urge Israel to abandon settlement expansion plans

Neighbouring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Al Aqsa, weighed in on Friday, saying "Israel's continuation of its illegal practices and provocative steps" in the city is a "dangerous game."

“Building and expanding settlements, confiscating lands, demolishing homes and deporting Palestinians from their homes are illegal practices that perpetuate the occupation and undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace, which is a regional and international necessity," Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman al Safadi tweeted.

READ MORE: Why are Jewish settlers ousting Palestinians in East Jerusalem?

US says 'critical' to de-escalate Jerusalem tensions

Meanwhile, the United States called for de-escalation in occupied East Jerusalem, and warned against carrying out a threatened eviction of Palestinian families that has sent tensions soaring.

"We're deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem," said deputy State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter.

READ MORE: Israel does not spare Gaza from strikes, even in Ramadan

She said it was "critical" to "de-escalate tensions" and avoid any unilateral steps that could worsen the situation –– such as "evictions, settlement activity and demolition."

Porter said the State Department was concerned in particular about the "potential eviction of Palestinian families in Silwan neighbourhood and Sheikh Jarrah," two areas of east Jerusalem where tensions have been running high.

She noted that some Palestinian families targeted for eviction have "lived in their home for generations."

Turkey accuses Israel of 'terror' 

Turkey criticised Israel and accused it of unleashing “terror” on Palestinians, with several Turkish officials calling for other countries to voice condemnation.

A Foreign Ministry statement urged Israel to “immediately end its provocative and hostile stance and act with reason”.

“Shame on Israel and those who keep silent in the face of disgraceful attacks,” Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter late on Friday.

“We call on everyone to stand up against the policies of occupation and aggression of this apartheid state,” he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies