Dozens of Palestinians riot at Temple Mount following Friday prayers

During the dispersal of the rioters, the police used stun and smoke grenades to control the clashes as police forces arrested a number of suspects.

July 27, 2018 14:29
2 minute read.

Dozens of Palestinians riot at Temple Mount following Friday prayers, July 27, 2018 (Reuters)

Dozens of Palestinians riot at Temple Mount following Friday prayers, July 27, 2018 (Reuters)

Police arrested 24 Arab worshipers and four officers were wounded after violent clashes broke out between rioters and police following Friday prayers on the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem Police said that at the end of prayers, in an “unclear and inexplicable move,” rioters began throwing fireworks and stones at police forces.

According to police, after dozens of rioters barricaded themselves inside al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem District Asst.-Ch. Yoram Halevy ordered police to clear the site. Police arrested 16 of those barricaded inside the mosque and detained another eight during the clashes.

During the dispersal of the rioters, the police used stun and smoke grenades.

Police said further arrests were planned and that they “intend to work hard and uncompromisingly against the suspects who have been arrested and others who were involved.”

The Arabs claimed that the police intervention was “unjustified and premeditated” and accused the security forces of using excessive force against the worshipers.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the “dangerous Israeli trespasses against al-Aqsa Mosque” and called on the international community to stop the Israeli “aggression.”

Abbas and several PA officials warned that Israel’s actions in east Jerusalem in general and on the Temple Mount in particular would trigger a “religious war.”

Jerusalem police conduct a thorough investigation after riots on the Temple Mount, July 27, 2018.

Abbas’s religious affairs adviser, Mahmoud Habbash, described the police intervention against the stone-throwers as a “massacre” against the Haram al-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary].”

The PA’s “Jerusalem governor,” Adnan Husseini, described the actions of the police on the Temple Mount as “dangerous.” He said he expects more “assaults” in the future against Muslim worshipers at the site.

Husseini took the police to task for “evicting” all worshipers from the Temple Mount for nearly two hours in response to the rioting. “We don’t know what the Israeli police did inside al-Aqsa Mosque during this time,” he told the PA’s Wafa news agency. “The assault was unjustified and premeditated in order to evict the mosque. This aggression is not disconnected from the incident in which a stone fell from the Western Wall of al-Aqsa Mosque.”

He was referring to last Monday’s incident in which a 200- kg. stone fell from the Western Wall. Palestinians do not recognize Jews’ right to the Western Wall and continue to insist that the structure, which they call al-Buraq wall, is part of al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Husseini claimed that the boulder that fell from the Western Wall was not a “casual incident.”

“How could such a stone this size fall if someone hadn’t dropped it?” he asked. He claimed that the stone fell because of archaeological excavation work carried out by Israel beneath al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Wakf Muslim religious trust also condemned what it called the Israeli “invasion” of the Temple Mount and claimed that more than 100 policemen took part in the “assault” on worshipers, Wakf guards and officials. It said that dozens of Palestinians were injured as a result of beatings and tear-gas inhalation.

The Wakf warned that Israel’s actions could spark tensions and plunge the region into more violence. It also accused Israel of seeking to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and called on the international community to intervene to stop “all Israeli measures.”

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