MIDDLE EASTPOLITICS

Police, rioters clash as entrance to Temple Mount restricted

Jerusalem-IsraelBy Nir Hasson (Haaretz)

Police and Border Police forces dispersed stone-throwing rioters, some of them masked, from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday morning.

The Palestinians were protesting against the police decision to limit entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslim worshippers aged 50 and over.

There were also running clashes between police and Palestinian protestors in other parts of the Old City and East Jerusalem.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said three officers were injuered in the clashes. The police said they would show “zero tolerance” and act decisively to prevent all disturbances of the peace in Jerusalem. Troops used tear gas and batons to disperse protestors throwing stones and fire-crackers.

Visitors began entering the Temple Mount as usual on Wednesday morning, but police decided to close the facility at 10:15 A.M., after an intelligence review indicated that many Palestinian youths had spent the night in Al-Aqsa mosque, armed with stones, firecrackers and other makeshift weapons.

The violence erupted shortly after morning prayers, when police entered the Temple Mount area to confront masked Palestinians who were erecting wooden barriers. The police succeeded in pushing the protesters into Al-Aqsa mosque and locking the doors.

Heavy police and Border Police forces secured the Western Wall concourse, where thousands of Jewish worshippers had arrived for the last day of Sukkot.

Ynet reported that the several prominent members of Israel’s Arab community, including MKs Jamal Zahalka and Hanin Zoabi and Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, were present at the scene.

Source: Haaretz

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