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US condemns ‘all acts of violence’ at Al-Aqsa compound

Washington: The United States today condemned “all acts of violence” at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound where Muslims and Israeli police clashed for a second straight day.

“The United States is deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions surrounding the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount. We strongly condemn all acts of violence,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said, calling on all sides to exercise restraint.

Muslims have barricaded themselves inside Al-Aqsa amid protests over access to the site, venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israeli security forces entered the compound early today to prevent Muslim youths from harassing visiting youths.

Booms could be heard outside the gates to the hillside complex, and police said masked youths threw stones at them as they entered Islam’s third holiest site.

“It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount, in word and in practice,” Kirby said.