JERUSALEM, OCT. 11 -- Arabs and Jews clashed atop the biblical Temple Mount this morning in a confrontation that caused hundreds of Jewish worshipers and tourists to flee in panic from the nearby Wailing Wall.

The trouble began when hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators sought to block entry to the religious area to ultraorthodox Jewish nationalists who had come to pray at the site, which contains two mosques and is sacred to both Moslems and Jews. Police escorting the Jews fired tear-gas canisters and shot in the air to disperse the rock-throwing crowd.

The tear gas wafted over the Wailing Wall, Judaism's holiest site, which is just below the mosques. Hundreds of Jewish worshipers there to celebrate the autumnal festival of Succot were forced to flee.

Meanwhile, a young Jewish man who was shot in the head last night in Jerusalem's Old City, in a separate incident, died of his wounds. In the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip -- where four Palestinians and an Israeli internal security agent were killed in a shootout earlier this week -- rioting erupted for the fifth straight day.

The Temple Mount, in the southwest corner of the Old City, is reputedly the site of King Solomon's Temple and is the spot from which Moslems believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to Heaven. The Temple Mount is the site of two of Islam's holiest shrines, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques.

Since Israel occupied and annexed Arab East Jerusalem after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the site has remained under administrative control of the Waqf, an Islamic institution that has barred non-Moslems from prayer.

The arrangement has come under increasing criticism from right-wing Jewish activists, who have pressed for Israeli rule over the area. Some have advocated tearing down the mosques and rebuilding the temple on the same sites. Police have sought to keep the two sides separated and have generally barred Jewish groups from entering the area in large numbers.

The Temple Mount Faithful, a small group of activists, announced in advance that it had received permission to visit the site this morning and said it would hold a Jewish prayer service there. Police denied that Jewish prayers would be allowed, but the announcement led Moslem activists to organize a protest.

When the half-dozen members of the group sought to enter the site this morning, escorted by about 80 helmeted and baton-wielding policemen, they were confronted by about 500 demonstrators. A police spokesman said the Palestinians refused orders to disperse and police then fired tear gas and warning shots.

Israel Army radio cited witnesses who said the tear-gassing began when a policeman clashed with a single protester. During the struggle, the radio said, a tear-gas canister fell from the policeman's belt and ignited, setting off the melee.

Three Arabs and three policemen were injured during the incident. A 60-year-old Jewish man praying at the Wailing Wall was struck in the head by a rock and taken to a hospital, a police spokesman reported. About a dozen Arabs were arrested.

Arab officials at the site said nearly 50 Palestinians were taken to hospitals suffering from inhalation of tear gas. Shopkeepers in the Old City closed their doors to protest the incident and Palestinian leaders warned the confrontation would recur if the site was not preserved strictly for Moslem worship.

After the incident, five Jewish activists escorted by a phalanx of armed police were allowed to make a 15-minute walk through the site.

"On the one hand, I'm satisfied," Gershon Solomon, leader of the Jewish group, told reporters afterward. "I feel proud today that the Israeli police and the Israel Defense Force proved that Israeli sovereignty applies on the Temple Mount."

{Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher Masri on Sunday summoned the heads of mission of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to express Jordan's condemnation of and grave concern over the incident, Reuter reported, quoting Jordan's official news agency Petra.}

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Yigal Shahaf died at Hadassah Hospital after he was shot in the Old City last night by an unidentified Arab assailant.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir told reporters that Israel should consider introducing the death penalty in the face of this latest incident. "I think we should soon reopen the discussion of this utmost penalty in particularly inhuman cases," Shamir said.

Members of Shamir's Likud political bloc renewed calls to introduce the death penalty against Palestinian guerrillas after an Israeli Army reservist was stabbed to death two weeks ago.

In the Gaza Strip, there were further disturbances today in the same area where troops shot and wounded at least seven Palestinian demonstrators yesterday.

A military spokesman said a gasoline bomb was thrown at an Army patrol in Gaza City but did not explode. The spokesman said demonstrators burned tires in the streets and threw stones at soldiers. All stores in the main streets were closed to protest the killing by soldiers of four armed Palestinians last week.

{In Cairo, Egypt's Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli charge d'affaires to protest the Israeli crackdown on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, Reuter added.}