Police arrest 18 Muslims in Temple Mount unrest

Arabs say Jews were seeking to destroy area holy sites; stone throwing reported elsewhere in Old City.

By MELANIE LIDMAN, JPOST STAF
February 19, 2012 18:16
1 minute read.
Haredi at the temple mount

Haredi temple mount 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Police arrested 18 Muslims on Sunday during unrest on the Temple Mount in the capital, after 50 protesters pelted tourists and officers with stones.

Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the protesters were reacting to reports that a group of Jews bent on destroying the Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and building the Third Temple on the site planned to ascend the Temple Mount en masse.

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There were similar rumors of such an attempt to be led by Likud activist Moshe Feiglin last Sunday.

Three officers were wounded during the clashes, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, describing the incident as a “disturbance on the Temple Mount.”

Stone-throwers attacked a group of Christian tourists that was visiting the site. At least 40 officers entered the Temple Mount to deal with the situation, Rosenfeld said.

Police arrested three suspects during the attacks.

Police arrested 10 additional suspects as they exited the Aksa Mosque after afternoon prayers, and five later in the afternoon. Additional arrests are expected.



Rosenfeld said the Wakf Islamic trust, which manages the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount, cooperated with police to calm the situation.

The incident came after unfounded Palestinians reports that a group of “religious [Jewish] Israelis” tried to “storm” the Temple Mount on Sunday morning, according to Jordanian semi-official newspaper Ad-Dustour.

Palestinian sources claimed over the weekend that a group of Jews would try to storm the Temple Mount in order to “strengthen Israeli sovereignty over the site,” according to the newspaper.

No Jewish visitors were on the Temple Mount during the altercation, police said. The site remained opened to tourists throughout the day.

Last week, Likud activists, including Feiglin, tried to enter the Temple Mount, but police barred them from entry. Officers accused the activists of trying to disrupt public order after a poster publicizing the event called for thousands to come and “Purify the site from the enemies of Israel who stole the land, and build the Third Temple on the ruins of the mosques.” Feiglin denied that Likud activists made the posters.

Last Sunday protests also broke out in Amman, near the Israeli Embassy, in reaction to the news of the attempt by Likud members to visit the Temple Mount.

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