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Clashes Erupt After Israel Closes Temple Mount

14 March, 2019, 10:49 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Firebomb on Temple Mount sparks unrest as Israeli police close entrances to site

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported two people hurt, while police said an officer suffered from smoke inhalation.

During the searches, the police said they found several containers of flammable materials, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails. But police quickly deployed across the hilltop compound, scuffling with Palestinians in the area, as they searched for the assailants. At least three suspects were arrested, and police were seen wrestling a woman to the ground.

Tuesday's clash is just a symptom of mounting tensions on the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount has always been a site of conflict for Israelis and Palestinians as it is of religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

However, The Islamic Waqf, the body that controls the Temple Mount, claims the firebomb attack "was fabricated and deliberately escalated and planned by the police".

Abbas denounced the "dangerous Israeli escalation" and warned of "serious repercussions".

A Ma'an reporter said that Israeli forces immediately sealed off all of the mosque's gates. In a statement, he called on the worldwide community to intervene. "Police will respond with strength and determination to any act of violence or attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount".

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The holy site has experienced a series of tense standoffs in recent weeks after Muslim worshippers reopened an area known as the "Gate of Mercy", closed by Israel in 2003.

"The Ramallah government subsequently issued a separate statement via the official WAFA news agency saying police prevented a call for prayer from the Al Aqsa Mosque, and "attacked Palestinians who gathered" outside one of the main gates of the Temple Mount compound, ostensibly to perform the evening prayer".

There were also unverified reports of Israeli police entering the Dome of the Rock.

Also on Tuesday night, in a separate incident, a Palestinian man was fatally shot by Israeli forces during clashes in the West Bank town of Salfit near Ramallah.

Jordan has offered that the site be closed for long-term renovations. The actual Gate of Mercy, which is a fortified gateway in the retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount, has been bricked up for almost 500 years.

Jordanian officials reportedly suggested closing the Bab al-Rahma building for an indefinite period while it undergoes renovations. Other entrances to the Old City remained open.

The Waqf has repeatedly challenged the closure, convening and staging prayer-protests in the area, which often erupted into clashes with police.

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