For the third consecutive night, violent altercations broke out between Muslim worshipers and the police in Jerusalem’s Old City.
According to police reports, a group of Muslim worshipers threw rocks and bottles at police officers stationed by the Temple Mount after evening prayers on Tuesday, lightly injuring two officers.
Police used riot dispersal equipment in response and according to the Red Crescent, 34 people were injured, including 14 who were hospitalised and one case of a serious chest injury.
The violent altercations began in response to the installation of metal detectors outside the entrance to the Temple Mount. The detectors were fitted on Sunday after two police officers were shot and killed in a shooting attack. The three attackers, all Arab Israelis from Umm al-Fahm, stored the firearms used to carry out the attack within the Temple Mount compound.
Members of the Knesset’s Arab Joint List visited the Lion’s Gate on Tuesday night. MK Ahmed Tibi said: “The metal detectors must be removed, they cause great unrest and in fact create a new reality that hurts the status quo… The entire Arab world is up in arms.”
Officials from the Waqf that administers the Temple Mount site have staged protests against the metal detectors, gathering groups to pray outside the entrance to the site rather than enter the compound. Fatah announced that Friday prayers this week will be conducted in public squares instead of the Temple Mount and called for a “day of rage” on Wednesday in protest at the new security measures.
Israeli police have said that they will continue “to act to enable a return to a safe routine in the Temple Mount area, its entrances and the wider area”.
On Tuesday it emerged that King Salman of Saudi Arabia passed on a message to Israel via Washington that the compound, which had been closed for several days following Friday’s attack, should be reopened to worshippers. Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly responded by committing to the status quo and inviting senior Saudi officials to Al-Aqsa Mosque to examine it for themselves.
[Photo: BICOM ]