Tens of thousands of Muslim faithful attended prayers in east Jerusalem's mosque compound on the second Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan before dispersing calmly under the gaze of a strong force of Israeli police, according to AFP.
Some 40,000 people prayed at the al-Aqsa compound, Islam's third holiest site, according to Muslim sources, while the police estimated their number to be closer to 100,000.
The crowd dispersed without incident, although there had been earlier clashes in the Shoafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem bewteen young Palestinians and the police.
Clashes broke out at a checkpoint and the police made some arrests, stopping Palestinians leaving the camp to go to the mosque, even though they had Israeli residents' cards for Jerusalem.
In his sermon, the mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrima Sabri, restated "the right of return" of millions of Palestinian refugees from 1948.
Hundreds of police officers were posted around the compound, venerated by Jews as the former site of their temple, in east Jerusalem, occupied then annexed by Israel in 1967, and at the gates of the Old City.
According to the Palestinian official news agency (WAFA), the crime of killing five Palestinian children in a booby trap in Khan Younis early Thursday was a focal point of the imam of the mosque where President Yasser Arafat performed the weekly prayers.
The agency said that Arafat and top aids prayed at Tashreefat mosque in Ramallah in the West Bank – Albawaba.com
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