Friday, July 28, 2017

Clashes Erupt At The Temple Mount

Clashes erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim worshipers return to site

Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.

Some 115 Palestinians were treated for injuries both inside the compound and in the surrounding area, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. A spokesperson said the injuries were mainly caused by rubber bullets, burns and bruises. Fifteen people were hospitalized, it said.

Police said worshipers began hurling rocks at security forces upon their reentry to the compound.
Some stones fell at the Western Wall plaza below, causing no injuries, a police spokesperson said.
After Israel removed the metal detectors and other security measures around the compound installed by police after a July 14 terror attack, Palestinians were given the all-clear by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jerusalem’s Muslim religious authorities on Thursday to end their 12-day boycott of the holy site.
However, a last-minute confrontation erupted at the Huta Gate where two Israeli policemen were killed on July 14 by three Arab Israeli gunmen who had smuggled weapons into the site. The Huta Gate was the final gate to remain closed as police rolled back the security measures this week.
Witnesses next to the Huta gate told The Times of Israel that police had opened and closed it a few times before dispersing the crowd with stun grenades. It was then closed and police barricaded off the area.

Thousands of worshipers started to pour onto the Temple Mount, mostly through the Gate of the Tribes, near the Lions Gate entrance into the Old City, believing the Huta Gate had been opened for good. Hundreds were still refusing to go onto the Temple Mount until the Huta Gate is reopened permanently.
Crowds of worshipers lifted Jerusalem Mufti Mohammed Hussein on their shoulders at the Huta Gate as they proceeded to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for afternoon prayers.
 Israel is responsible for security at the entrance’s to the Temple Mount, while the Jordanian-administered Waqf manages the holy site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount but not to pray there.

Police arrested several Palestinian youths who barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque following prayers there late Thursday night, as tensions surrounding the Temple Mount persisted after nearly two weeks of bloody clashes over security measures at the site.

The confrontation came following a day of fighting between police and Muslim worshipers at the holy site, after Muslim leaders said they would resume praying at the site as Israel rolled back security measures there, seemingly ending a high-stakes standoff over control of the sacred compound.

However, tensions remain high ahead of prayers Friday, with Israeli officials beefing up police and military presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank amid fears of clashes amid lingering Muslim anger over the episode.

According to police, they were forced to remove several dozen youths who had refused orders from both Israeli authorities and the Islamic Waqf that administers the site to leave the mosque following prayers.

Police said they arrested several youths who clashed with police after they stormed the mosque to pull them out.
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported that more than 100 Palestinians were arrested and 15 people were injured.
The confrontation came hours after violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound, as Muslim worshipers returned to the site en masse after a nearly two week absence.

Arabs attempted to resume violent clashes in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday as soon as midday Islamic prayers ended at the Al Aqsa Mosque in the Temple Mount compound. 
Riots began with Arabs hurling rocks at Israeli police and other security personnel in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, who instantly responded with stun grenades and other mob dispersal methods.
Numerous mounted police and those in armored patrol vehicles were present on the streets as well. Clashes were also reported in the ancient Judean cities of Bethlehem and Hebron, where Arab youth attacked Israeli forces as well.

Men under 50 were barred from entering the Temple Mount compound at all, in light of warnings that plans were in place for demonstrations and riots at the site. 
Those who were not allowed to enter the compound gathered instead in the streets surrounding the site, as they had for the two weeks prior, during the Muslim boycott directed by Arab leaders in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“A number of roads around the Old City will be limited to access and all necessary security measures are being taken to prevent and respond to any outbreak of violence,” police said in a statement.
By late Thursday night, more than 100 demonstrators were wounded in the violence, which included stone throwing also aimed at Jews praying at the Western Wall.

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