Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says police got a tip about a planned violent demonstration and entered the Temple Mount Monday. Troops found firebombs and rocks at the scene and chased the demonstrators toward the Al-Aqsa mosque, where they barricaded themselves inside.
No one was injured in the brief clash.
The hilltop compound is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, where the two biblical Jewish Temples stood. It is sacred to Muslims, who refer to it as the Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, marking the place where they believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
The site is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, and a frequent flashpoint for demonstrations.