A dispute over metal detectors is escalating into a new showdown between Israel and the Muslim world over Jerusalem's Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound, a holy site that has triggered major Israeli-Palestinian confrontations in the past.

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Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian Muslim man during protests outside the Old City of JerusalemIlia Yefimovich/Getty Images

On Tuesday evening (19 July) several Palestinians were injured, at least one seriously, when they clashed with Israeli police outside the compound. The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least 14 people had been injured in the violence. A Palestinian hospital official said one man suffered a serious head wound from a rubber bullet fired from close range, but an Israeli police spokesman denied that rubber bullets had been used.

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Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian demonstrators who prayed outside Lion's Gate as they refused to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound because of newly-implemented security measures by Israeli authorities which include metal detectors and camerasAhmad Gharabli/AFP

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that, after prayers ended, some of the dozens of worshippers had started throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, and dispersal means were used. Two officers were lightly hurt, she said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police who regularly patrol Jerusalem's Old City use stun grenades in clashes, but are not routinely armed with rubber bullets.

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Israeli border police stand guard as Palestinians take part in evening prayers outside the Lion's Gate of Jerusalem's Old CityAmmar Awad/Reuters
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Palestinian Muslim worshipers demonstrate after clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and Muslims who prayed outside Lion's GateAhmad Gharabli/AFP
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A Palestinian man is evacuated during scuffles with Israeli border police that erupted after Palestinians held evening prayers outside the Lion's Gate of Jerusalem's Old CityAmmar Awad/Reuters
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Medics carry a Palestinian man who was wounded during clashes with Israeli security forcesAhmad Gharabli/AFP

Tensions have increased around the compound since three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen outside the complex on Friday (14 July) in one of the most serious attacks in the area in years. The assailants were killed by security forces and Israeli authorities briefly closed the compound.

When it was reopened on Sunday, metal detectors had been installed. Israel says installing the devices at the gates to the walled compound is a routine security measure. Palestinians claim Israel is trying to expand control over the Muslim-run site that is also revered by Jews.

The landmark is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, or home of biblical Temples destroyed two millennia ago. It is the holiest site of their religion. For now, Jews worship at the Western Wall, a retaining wall of the compound. Muslims believe the hilltop compound marks the spot from which Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. Known to them as the Noble Sanctuary, it is the third holiest site of Islam and houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques.

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14 July 2017: Israeli police examine the scene of the shooting attack at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old CityAmmar Awad/Reuters
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16 July 2017: A Palestinian man empties his bag as he walks through a recently installed metal detector outside the Lion's Gate, a main entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque compoundAhmad Gharabli/AFP
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16 July 2017: Palestinian Muslim worshippers, who refuse to enter Al-Aqsa mosque compound due to new security measures by Israeli authorities, pray near the metal detectors installed at the entrance to the religious site in Jerusalem's Old City
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17 July 2017: Palestinian Muslim worshippers who refuse to enter Al-Aqsa mosque compound pray outside the Lions GateAhmad Gharabli/AFP
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17 July 2017: A Palestinian man argues with an Israeli border police officer after Palestinians held prayers just outside Jerusalem's Old City in protest over the installation of metal detectorsAmmar Awad/Reuters
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17 July 2017: Israeli border guards detain a Palestinian youth during a demonstration against newly-implemented security measures by Israeli authorities which include metal detectors and camerasAhmad Gharabli/AFP
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17 July 2017: Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian woman during a demonstration outside the Lions Gate, a main entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque compoundAhmad Gharabli/AFP

Muslim worshippers have stepped up protests following an appeal from clerics to pray in the streets rather than submit to the new procedures. The confrontation could come to a head on Friday, when tens of thousands of Muslims typically converge on the holy site for prayers.