Violence between Palestinian rioters and Israeli security forces renewed on Friday afternoon after some 150,000 worshipers prayed peacefully at Temple Mount on the third Friday prayers of the month of Ramadan.
Following the Friday prayers, rioters began throwing stones toward security forces on the Mount, with a police drone firing stun grenades as a riot control measure in response, Israeli media reported. One Palestinian was seriously injured while running away from police officers after throwing rocks toward them. He was taken to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem for treatment.
Prior to the clashes renewing, some Palestinians reportedly made their way to al-Aqsa Mosque's roof, hoisting the flags of terrorist group Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Clashes between rioters and police that broke out at dawn were subdued later on in the morning, according to the Israel Police. At approximately 4:00 a.m., hundreds of people, some with their faces covered and carrying Hamas flags, began a riot that included preparing fortifications, throwing stones and shooting fireworks, the Israel Police Jerusalem District said.
Earlier Friday, worshippers at the Aqsa Mosque compound chanted slogans in support of Hamas and called for jihad (holy war). https://t.co/iqm4In5qGj— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) April 22, 2022
Despite the stone-throwing, the police waited for the prayers to commence and the worshipers to disperse. When the rioters' violence intensified and neared the back of the Western Wall, where prayers were ongoing, the police used riot control measures to push the mass back, the police said.
Some of the worshipers unsuccessfully attempted to stop the riots and expel the rioters, police noted.
A firecracker shot by a rioter set a tree on fire, police added.
A police officer was wounded after being hit in the face by a stone and was evacuated.
Palestinians riot on the Temple Mount during Ramadan Friday prayers on April 22, 2022. (CREDIT: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
In addition, at least 27 rioters were injured, out of which 11 were transferred to hospitals, two in serious condition, Arabic media the Palestinian Red Crescent as saying.
"While many police officers are operating in order to enable the freedom of worship while maintaining security, law and order in the holy places and throughout Jerusalem, there are those who choose to riot and disturb public order," the police said.
"We will continue to act against lawless rioters in order to maintain public well-being and safety," the police added.
شاهدوا: مصلون مسلمون يبعدون البلطجية من باحات الأقصى كي يستتى لهم الصلاة بأمان. pic.twitter.com/Z1Plfilagd— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) April 22, 2022
At approximately 10:00 a.m. Hebrew news sources reported that the riot had ended and that the police had left the compound.
Later on Friday, clashes also erupted between IDF forces and Palestinian rioters in the villages of Beit Dajan and Beita, near Nablus, in the West Bank. Some 54 Palestinian rioters were injured during the clashes, Palestinian meia reported.
Police brace for further riots
Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai arrived at the site later Friday morning and on the way held a situational assessment with all of the police's district chiefs and heads of branches, the police said. Shabtai decided to put Border Police reservists on immediate standby for recruitment depending how the situation continues to develop. He also ordered regional command headquarters to be on standby both in case riots unfold in their regions or if they are needed as backup elsewhere.
The police will act quickly and aggressively to quell any riot that breaks out, Shabtai added. He also stressed the importance of combatting false news, which he said was part of the Palestinian attempt to ignite the situation, by providing accurate versions of the events to the Arab public and throughout the world.
Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev later held a situation assessment at the Western Wall.
"Again this morning, the police is acting determinedly and responsibly against incited and violent rioters, who themselves are the ones who are violating the freedom of religious worship for Muslims on the Temple Mount and Jews at the Western Wall," Bar Lev said.
"We will continue to come down heavily on these rioters in order to enable the continuation of the prayers," he added. He also wished a speedy recovery to the wounded officer.
The riot came as tensions in the capital have risen in recent days due to numerous riots by Palestinian worshipers and an ensuing flag march led by MK Itamar Ben Gvir on Wednesday through the Old City as well as thousands of Israelis visiting the holy site during Passover.
Hamas in a statement on Thursday called on Palestinians to "mobilize at dawn tomorrow in defense of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque."