Israeli police in riot gear have fired stun grenades to break up a group of Palestinians throwing rocks near sensitive holy sites in Jerusalem's old city ahead of a Jewish festival.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the Palestinians injured three officers in the clashes, which began after Muslim prayers Wednesday at a gate to the Old City, where tensions have been high in recent months.

The main flashpoint is the hilltop compound that is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, in the eastern sector of the city that Israel captured from Jordan in 1967 and which Palestinians demand for their future capital.

The Palestinians were protesting against recent visits by Jews to the site. Palestinians view such visits as a provocation and often respond violently.