Jerusalem police limit Muslim access to Temple Mount following violence

Israeli security forces restrict entrance to holy site to men over 50; access remains open to women of all ages.

September 27, 2015 20:10
2 minute read.

Police, Palestinians clash at al-Aksa Mosque

Police, Palestinians clash at al-Aksa Mosque


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Jerusalem police on Sunday evening imposed an age restriction on Muslim worshipers entering the Temple Mount complex following violent clashes at site earlier in the day.

As of Sunday evening, Israeli security forces were limiting entrance to Jerusalem's contested holy site to men over 50. Access remained open to women of all ages.

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Earlier Sunday, masked Palestinian youth threw stones and firecrackers at Israeli police and Border Police on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

The violence occurred on the last day of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha and on the eve of the Succot Jewish festival of Succot. The security forces managed to subdue the riot, police said. 

Police said Sunday evening's decision to enact the age restriction came, "In light of these attempts and others by extremist and violent elements to disturb the order and violate the sanctity of the vicinity and the holiday."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Ofir Gendelman tweeted a response to the violence in which he clarified that no Jewish visitors had been allowed onto al-Aksa Mosque compound where the violence occurred.

“The Temple Mount was closed today to Jewish visitors for the last day of Eid al-Adha, but Palestinian rioters still started clashes,” Gendelman said.

“Palestinian rioters who couldn't find Jewish visitors to attack on the the Temple Mount, started throwing rocks and firecrackers at the Mughrabi Gate,” he said.

“Israel upholds the status quo on the Temple Mount. Those who violate it are Palestinian rioters who smuggle pipe bombs and firecrackers into it,” he said.

He added that Israel would not allow Palestinian rioters to smuggle weapons into the Temple Mount area.

The clash at the flashpoint site, holy to both Jews and Muslims, is the latest in a string of recent incidents.

Larger clashes broke out at the site ahead of the Rosh Hashana holiday earlier this month. In those clashes an Israeli police officer was injured and a number of stone throwers were arrested. 

The Jordanian government condemned Israel after the Rosh Hashana riots for what it said was the "storming" of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City.

Reports in the Arab media last week said that the Hashemite monarchy was furious with the Israeli government over recent statements accusing Amman of playing a destabilizing role and turning a blind eye to Palestinian provocations on Temple Mount.

The Kuwaiti daily A-Jarida reported that King Abdullah refused Netanyahu's request to hold a secret meeting in the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba, just over the border near Eilat.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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