AFP – Palestinians enraged by reports that an Israeli policeman mishandled a Quran battled riot officers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound with stones and petrol bombs on Friday, police and witnesses said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that about 100 protesters, many of them masked, attacked police, who fired stun grenades in response.
“Petrol bombs were thrown at police,” he told AFP. “Several police officers were injured by stones that were thrown and were evacuated to hospital.”
An AFP journalist at the scene said the clash was triggered by Palestinian media allegations that a policeman at the compound, one of Islam’s holiest sites, on Sunday kicked a holy book and trampled on it.
“That’s completely incorrect,” Rosenfeld said, adding that the Quran in question was being held by one of a group of women seeking to block a visit to the compound by Israelis when the book fell by accident.
“They blocked them with a bench and one of the women who was sitting on the bench was reading a Quran,” he said.
“When the bench was removed from the area the Quran fell on the floor. The Quran was picked up and returned to the lady and there was no misconduct by any of the police.”