Palestinians riot in Jerusalem; police enter Temple Mount


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli police entered the Temple Mount compound after Palestinians began throwing stones during rioting in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Police entered the Temple Mount compound Sunday morning to remove Palestinians youths who had barricaded themselves in the Al-Aksa Mosque on Saturday night and on Sunday began throwing rocks at police and non-Muslim visitors to the site. The police reportedly surrounded the mosque but did not enter it.

At least eight Palestinians in the mosque reportedly were hurt by tear gas.

Two police and two border guards were injured in the streets of the Old City by stones thrown by Palestinian youth. Seven protesters were arrested.

Since Saturday night, police have restricted entry to the mosque to men with Israeli identity cards over the age of 50 and to women of all ages. Visits to the Temple Mount by Jews and non-Jews continued Sunday.

The Wakf and Islamic organizations called on Muslims to gather at the Temple Mount, saying that "radical Jewish organizations" have called on followers to lay a cornerstone for a temple on the site, Ynet reported. 

The rioting comes after several days of Palestinian protests in Hebron over the naming by the Israeli government of the Cave of the Patriarchs as a national heritage site. The site is also significant to Muslims and is home to the Ibrahami Mosque.

The Israeli army imposed a closure on the West Bank for the Purim holiday through Monday evening. Troops have been reinforced in areas where Palestinians and Jewish settlers are likely to clash, according to reports.

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