Agence France Presse
Published — Saturday 9 March 2013
Last update 9 March 2013 3:53 am
JERUSALEM: Palestinians enraged by reports that an Israeli policeman mishandled a Qur’an copy battled riot officers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with stones and petrol bombs yesterday, police and witnesses said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that about 100 protesters, many of them masked, confronted 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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an,” he said. “When the bench was removed from the area the Qur’an fell on the floor. The Qur’an was picked up and returned to the lady and there was no misconduct by any of the police.”
In the West Bank village of Abud, northwest of Ramallah, about 1,000 mourners attended the funeral of a local man who died Thursday of head injuries after being shot by Israeli troops with a rubber bullet two weeks ago during a protest.