Christian worshipers gathered in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepluchre, the traditional site of Jesus’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection, on Sunday to observe the Easter holiday.
Thousands of people participated in mass at the church in the historic Old City, home to holy sites to the three monotheistic faiths. Tens of thousands have come to Jerusalem for the holidays now that most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted.
Sunday is Easter in the Western Christian calendar, while Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, where worshipers traditionally carry palm fronds and olive branches and march from the top of the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem's Old City in commemoration of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.
This year's Palm Sunday celebrations at the Church of the Holy Sepluchre were attended by hundreds of worshippers from all around the world. The mass was scaled back considerably during the past two years due COVID-19 and Israel's consequent travel restrictions.
This year the holiday also coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan for the first time in over three decades.
Elsewhere in the Old City, Palestinian protesters clashed with police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after officers closed the flashpoint shrine, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, to allow Jewish visitors.
Following the riot, the police was criticized by members of the coalition's own Islamist Ra'am party, as well as by the Hamas terror group in control of Gaza, which threatened Israel that violence against Muslim worshippers would be answered by violence from the Gaza Strip.
Sunday's unrest follows last week's riot, which saw officers clash with Palestinian rioters who barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque after the Ramadan prayer, and who fired fireworks and threw stones toward the nearby Jewish prayer space of the Western Wall.