Temple Mount reopened to worshipers following clashes

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli police lifted restrictions on Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount two days after Arab youths hurled rocks down on Jews praying at the Western Wall.

Eighteen policemen were wounded last Friday during clashes between police and Arab youths, when about 300 of the Arabs began throwing rocks on the Western Wall plaza following prayers at the Al Aksa Mosque, according to reports.

Up to 60 Palestinians were injured, according to reports citing Palestinian medics, including one woman who was hospitalized at Hadassah Medical Center in critical condition with a head injury. Five Arabs were arrested.

After the rioters were subdued, the rock throwing spread to Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter, including at several gates leading into the Old City, but was quelled by police.

The rioting reportedly began after a sermon in the mosque urging followers to preserve Islamic sites that are said to be targeted by Israel. 

The sermon comes on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to add two West Bank sites, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, to a list of 150 national heritage sites that Israel will rehabilitate and promote as part of a $100 million renovation and restoration plan. The sites are located on land that Palestinians plan to incorporate into a future state, and are also holy to Muslims.

Some 100 Palestinians also protested last Friday outside the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, which has seen ongoing rioting since Netanyahu announced his plan.

 

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