Firebomb against police on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
The bomb started a fire at the holy site. Police closed off the area as well as the Old City. At least four people, including women, were detained. Two Palestinians injured in clashes are hospitalised.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Fresh violence broke out the Temple Mount (Haram esh-Sharif), in Jerusalem’s Old City, over the past few days. A firebomb hurled at a police post today started a blaze whilst Israeli police closed off the holy site.
Early reports indicate that police broke into the compound following the incident and arrested three suspects. All gates to the Temple Mount have been closed, and police are evacuating everyone present. Entrance to the Old City in Jerusalem has also been blocked.
Clashes broke out between police and worshipers at the scene. Palestinians report that several staff members of the Waqf (the Muslim custodian of the site) as well as worshipers have been arrested, and that Israeli police broke into the Dome of the Rock and other mosques.
Palestinian eyewitnesses said they saw four people getting arrested, two of whom were women. According to the Red Crescent, two Palestinians injured in the clashes were evacuated to a nearby hospital.
A video is fanning the flames showing an Israeli police officer refusing to remove his shoes upon entering Bab al Rahma and trampling prayer rugs despite objections by worshipers.
Reacting to the escalating tensions, the Arab League urged the international community to put an end to Israel’s aggression at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court postponed by one week its decision regarding the closure of the disputed Bab al-Rahma building on the Mount.
Israel closed the site to worshipers 16 years ago, claiming it was used by a group associated with Hamas. But last month, Waqf officials reopened it.
Police have since tried to close it, but Muslim protesters have reopened it and have used it as a mosque.
The police roadblock hit by today's explosion is located near a building adjacent to the Dome of the Rock, in the middle of the Haram esh-Sharif (Esplanade of the Mosques). In the past it has been the target of attacks and violence.
The police post that was targeted in Tuesday's clashes is situated in a building near the Dome of the Rock, which is in the middle of the Temple Mount.
For Palestinians, police presence is a symbol of Israel's stronghold over the holy site, which remains a sore point for the two sides.
Many Palestinians fear that the status quo will be challenged, especially as Jewish extremists continue to raid the site demanding the demolition of the mosques to be replaced by a Jewish temple.