Tree catches fire outside Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque, no damage to mosque


Israelis gather at the Western Wall as a blaze is seen in the background at the compound that houses al-Aqsa mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, is this still image taken from video May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Reuters TV

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A tree caught fire outside Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque on Monday, but the blaze was quickly put out and no damage was caused to the mosque.

Tension has been high in Jerusalem and witnesses offered contradicting accounts about whether the flames were caused by Palestinians who had thrown fireworks at police or by a police stun grenade.

Israeli police said in a statement the fire was started by the fireworks. A spokesman did not say whether officers had been throwing stun grenades at the time.

The tree was about 10 meters from the mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

Israeli police and Palestinians had clashed outside the mosque earlier in the day but the scene was relatively calm after the fire was put out, with people returning to prayer.

(Reporting by Ammar Awad and Rami Ayyub)

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