(JTA) — At least eight Palestinians were reportedly wounded in clashes with Israeli police that occurred shortly after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged all parties to practice restraint in Jerusalem.
The clashes included the firing of flare guns by Palestinian men at police guarding the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem on Friday, the news site news.walla.co.il reported on Friday. Police responded by firing crown dispersal means at the Palestinians, who fled the scene.
In another incident, eight Palestinians were injured during clashes following Friday prayers near the Qalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem, the Ma’an news agency reported. One of the wounded sustained serious injuries, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The violence unfolded one day after Israel briefly closed the Temple Mount compound for access. It was the first blanket closure in a decade, according to Army Radio.
Late Thursday night, Kerry released a statement in which he wrote that he was “extremely concerned by escalating tensions across Jerusalem and particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” adding: “It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount — in word and in practice.”
That day, a 70-year-old Jewish woman was lightly wounded and several cars were damaged in rioting by Palestinians who targeted Israeli vehicles with stones, Israel Radio reported.
Israel more than doubled the presence of police in Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of the weekend, deploying a total of 3,000 officers, Israel Radio reported. The special deployment followed the shooting of a right-wing activist, Yehuda Glick, on Wednesday. He is seriously wounded but appears to be recovering, doctors said Thursday.
Israel’s internal security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, told reporters Friday that the shooter was Muataz Hijazi, an operative for the Islamic Jihad terror group, though his family members deny this, Army Radio reported.