Hundreds of Palestinian protesters and at least 21 police officers were injured throughout Monday morning in fierce clashes on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, accoring to medical officials and police.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 305 people were hurt in the confrontation between Palestinians and police, as the latter burst onto the Temple Mount and into its Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Israel Police said rioters had been hurling rocks and other objects from the holy site and launching fireworks at officers, leading them to enter the compound, a relatively uncommon move by Israeli security forces.
Riot police responded with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.
Around 205 Palestinians were hospitalized, of whom seven were in serious condition, the first aid organization reported. At least 21 police officers were injured, including one who required hospitalization, police said.
At certain points during the clashes, the police emptied the Temple Mount and temporarily barred people from returning but eventually let them back in.
The riots came shortly after police on Monday morning decided to bar Jews from entering the flashpoint holy site on Jerusalem Day due to spiraling tensions in the capital, drawing fury from right-wing legislators but support from the left.
Police said they planned to would allow an annual parade by nationalist Jews through the capital, despite recommendations by security officials to alter the route of the so-called Flag March in order to limit the chances of direct confrontations between the participants and the Muslim residents of the Old City.
During a situational assessment by Israel’s political leadership, the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet security service and Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians all said they believed that the current route, which would have thousands of Jewish Israelis pass through the flashpoint Damascus Gate and Muslim Quarter, was likely to result in violence.
The Flag March was planned for 4 p.m. Monday, and police were set to hold additional meetings on the matter before making their final decision on how to proceed.
Police entered the Temple Mount compound in the morning after thousands of Palestinians gathered in the compound overnight, having collected numerous rocks and other makeshift weapons. Police said dozens of rioters attacked a police post and started hurling rocks from the Temple Mount toward a road south of the compound, blocking the road but causing no injuries or damage.
That prompted police to enter the Temple Mount area. Officers were attacked and responded with stun grenades, police said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said hundreds were injured, as footage posted on social media showed some of the clashes.
In one incident outside the Old City, Palestinian rioters hurled rocks and other objects at a Jewish man’s car and tried to drag him and his two passengers out of it before the driver sped into one of the assailants.
A police officer who was nearby ran to the scene and protected the driver and the passengers, who were mildly injured, as rioters attempted to attack them. The officer fired his pistol into the air to keep the mob away, police said.
The driver and passenger were taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center for treatment. The condition of the Palestinian man who was hit by the car was not immediately known, though he could be seen in video footage walking away after the crash.
Palestinian officials condemned Monday’s “storming of Al-Aqsa” by Israeli police and vowed that they would consider “all options” in response.
“Storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a crime committed by the occupation. The Palestinian leadership is studying all options to respond to this heinous aggression against the holy sites and the citizens,” tweets senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh, one of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s closest advisers.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror group, called the clashes “a real massacre and war crime.
“We call on our entire nation to take to the streets and clash with the occupation,” he said, adding that “Israel will pay a heavy price for its forcible takeover of Al-Aqsa.”
Palestinian officials blamed Israel for clashes between Palestinians and police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount on Monday, which the Hamas terror group dubbed “a massacre.”
The Palestinian Red Crescent said that over 300 Palestinians were wounded during clashes between Palestinians and police near Al-Aqsa Mosque and elsewhere in the Old City Monday morning. According to the Red Crescent, 205 people were hospitalized, and seven were said to be in serious condition. Police said at least 21 officers were wounded.
In Ramallah, senior officials condemned the “storming of Al-Aqsa” by Israeli police and vowed that they would consider “all options” in response
“The Israeli occupation forces’ brutal storming and assault on worshipers in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyards is a new challenge to the international community, especially those efforts being made by the [new] United States administration,” a spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said.