Temple Mount reopens following Arab rioting


JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Temple Mount opened to worshipers and tourists a day after violent rioting at the site. 

Arab rioters on Sunday attacked Israeli police officers with stones, firebombs and oil on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Eight police offers were injured in morning attacks that began shortly after the mosques on the mount opened for prayers. A second round of rioting began later in the morning.

Officers stormed the mount carrying glass shields for protection but did not enter the mosques. About 100 rioters holed up in the Al-Aksa Mosque for much of the day.

At least 21 Arab rioters were arrested in connection with the violence.

Following the attacks, police closed the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers and to tourists. Prayers continued at the Western Wall, where police presence was increased.

The violence comes after repeated calls Saturday by Muslim leaders appealing to Arabs to come protect Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from "Jewish conquest." Police had announced Saturday that they would increase police forces and patrols in the area based on the Muslim incitement.

Rumors have circulated throughout the Palestinian and Muslim community that far-right-wing Jews plan to take over the site, which is holy to Jews and Muslims. The rumors have proven to be unfounded.

"Israel is provoking a billion Muslims around the world who will not hesitate to protect the Temple Mount with their own bodies," Arab-Israeli lawmaker Talab Al-Sana told Ha’aretz. "Israeli police initiate avoidable riots that will end in bloodshed when they enable extremists to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

The violence also spread to eastern Jerusalem, including the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, where masked Palestinians threw stones and other objects at Israeli security forces.

At a conference Sunday night, prominent religious rabbis and politicians decried what they called "discrimination" against religious Jews who are made to wait for long periods in order to ascend the Temple Mount. They called on Jews to increase their visits to the site. 

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