At least five police officers were lightly injured Monday morning on the Temple Mount when hundreds of masked Muslims rioted and erected roadblocks in an attempt to block reinforcements from dispersing the mob.
According to police, at approximately 7:30 a.m. officers charged with opening Mughrabi Gate for Jewish and Christian visitors were pelted with rocks and fire crackers.
Border Police reinforcements who were called in were initially impeded from entering the scene by road blocks placed at Rambam Gate, but were able to get through after dismantling them. Meanwhile, 12 Arabs were arrested for rioting in east Jerusalem overnight. Police said that over the past 30 days, 430 Arabs have been arrested for rioting throughout the capital.
After containing the violence on the Temple Mount, police said visitation hours would continue as planned.
The violence comes the day before Tisha Be’av (the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar), which is considered the “saddest day in Jewish history,” when Jews fast to commemorate the Temples’ destruction, which occurred on the same day, 655 years apart.
Several other significant tragedies also befell Jews on this day, including their expulsion from England and Spain in 1290 and 1492, respectively; Heinrich Himmler’s presentation of the “Final Solution” in 1940; and the Nazi deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto in 1942.
A police spokesman said security will be heightened throughout the capital during the annual day of mourning.