The Israel Police preemptively closed the Temple Mount Thursday morning to avert a riot, following numerous anonymous threats from Arabs of imminent violence should Jews be permitted to ascend the holy site, police said.
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the entrance was closed to Jewish and Christian visitors alike at approximately 10 a.m., shortly after officers were informed of the possible clash.
“We closed it to make sure no one would be injured,” said Rosenfeld, adding that riot control units were called in the event of violence breaking out.
The tug-of-war between Jews and Arabs over visitation rights to the Temple Mount has a long and contentious history, dating back to when the Wakf Muslim religious trust was given oversight of the holy site following the 1967 War.
Although the Supreme Court upheld Jewish prayer rights at the site, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship there if they believe such activities will incite a “disturbance to the public order.”
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