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Palestinians riot in eastern Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Palestinians rioted in eastern Jerusalem over Yom Kippur.

Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs as well as garbage at police in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya on Sunday night. In addition, at least two firebombs were hurled at Jewish homes in Silwan on Monday.

Also Monday, Jews stoned Arab cars as they drove on Hebron Way, a street that runs through Jerusalem.

The unrest followed an incident Sunday morning when at least 150 Palestinians surrounded and threw stones at 15 Jews visiting the Temple Mount.

Israeli police fired stun grenades and tear gas at the attackers during the incident, which occurred on the eve of Yom Kippur. At least nine police and 15 Palestinian attackers reportedly were injured. Police also arrested eight Palestinian youth who they say attacked them.

The Palestinians reportedly began the riot on the Temple Mount because they heard that it was being invaded by Jewish "settlers."

"At a time when President Obama is trying to bridge the divide between Palestinians and Israelis, and to get negotiations back on track, Israel is deliberately escalating tensions in Jerusalem," chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erakat said Sunday night 

"We’ve seen this before, and we know what the consequences are," he added, conjuring up images of  Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in 2000, which is said to have sparked the second Palestinian uprising, known as the al-Aksa intifada.

The Temple Mount, which houses two Muslim mosques — al-Aksa and the Dome of the Rock — overlooks the Western Wall, where prayers continued undisturbed Sunday.

Following the incident, the Temple Mount was closed to Jewish visitors but not to Palestinians. Several Palestinian stone-throwing incidents also were reported in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday following the attack.

Hamas reportedly called on the Palestinians to rise up against Israel as a result of the incident.

On Saturday night, a closure was imposed on the West Bank until after the Yom Kippur holiday on Monday at midnight.

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