French tourist assaulted after waving Israel flag at Al-Aqsa

Israeli flags and flowers adorn graves at the military cemetery on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana) (AFP/File)

Jerusalem (AFP) - A French Christian tourist was assaulted by four Palestinians on Tuesday after waving an Israeli flag at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites, police said.

The man, in his mid-thirties, was lightly wounded to the head and taken for medical care, a police spokeswoman said. He was detained and was facing potential charges of disrupting the public order.

Police also detained the four men suspected of assaulting the tourist, identified as residents of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The spokeswoman said it was an isolated incident and there was no further violence at the mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

On Sunday, clashes broke out at the compound after masked Palestinian youths threw stones at security forces while protesters held photographs of an 18-month-old child killed in an arson attack in the occupied West Bank suspected of having been carried out by Jewish extremists.

The mosque compound sees frequent clashes between police and Palestinians, at times over Jewish visits that are perceived as an attempt to gain full control over the site, currently under Jordanian custodianship.

Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the compound, but Jews are forbidden from praying or displaying national symbols for fear of triggering tensions with Muslim worshippers.

Israel seized east Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, in the Six Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.