Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Jerusalem as fragile Gaza cease-fire takes hold

On Friday, just hours after a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, clashes broke out on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Pictures of the holy site – a focal point for the tension that sparked the 11-day conflict – appeared to show Israeli police firing stun grenades and tear gas while Palestinian protesters hurled stones and rocks.

It was the first sign of fragility in the ceasefire that halted the recent Gaza conflict on Thursday after nearly two weeks of fighting in which hundreds died.

There were no reports of violations early Friday, although each side said it was ready to take revenge for the other’s missile strikes or air strikes.

Egypt, which brokered the deal, said it would send two delegations to oversee the ceasefire.

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Immediately after Friday prayers, hundreds of Palestinians held a solemn demonstration in Al-Aqsa, waving flags and banners – some in support of Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.

It was unclear what sparked the subsequent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

Police in Jerusalem described the disruption at the site, also known as the Temple Mount, as a “riot”.

“As soon as the midday prayer service ended, there was a riot,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Following this, Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman ordered the police to enter the Temple Mount and deal with the rioters … while allowing bystanders to leave.”

On the previous Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas of further rocket attacks after the ceasefire.

He vowed to respond with “a new level of violence against any expression of aggression against communities in Gaza and any other part of Israel”.

After the armistice came into force, the Palestinians gathered in the streets by the thousands, most of them cheering.

More than 10 days of air and artillery bombardment killed at least 243 Palestinians – including at least 66 children – and wreaked havoc in the already impoverished Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

Hamas rocket locks also halted life in parts of Israel, causing at least 12 deaths.

What began with clashes that first erupted in Jerusalem weeks ago resulted in a conflict that spread well beyond the ancient city walls and sparked a wave of civil unrest in Israel and protests around the world.

Clashes between Israeli police, Palestinian believers and nationalist Israelis, as well as plans to evict Palestinian families from land claimed by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, led to days of violence in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque earlier this month .

Hamas launched rockets on Israel on May 10 when the group promised to get the country to pay a heavy price for treating the third holiest site in Islam, which is located on a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews is. Israel responded with air strikes on Gaza.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Paul Goldman contributed.

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