Israeli police reopen Temple Mount holy site after clashes

13 Mars, 2019, 11:43 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Palestinians prayed Isha  prayers in the streets after Israel closed all al Aqsa Mosque gates

Israeli security forces on Tuesday, March 12, clashed with Muslims at the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem's Old City, after a firebomb was thrown at police.

The Gaza-based Hamas terror organization released a statement calling on the "Arab and Muslim world to oppose [Israeli] aggression" on the holy site.

The news agency quoted the Palestinian Red Crescent society as saying it transported four people to hospital with injuries "from beating" and said "police attacked its crews at Bab al-Asbat and prevented them from being in the area".

The Waqf, the Islamic endowment body tasked with managing the holy site, said that the compound had been opened for dawn prayers attended by worshipers without incident. Police routinely arrest Jews who are seen moving their lips in apparent silent prayer while visiting the compound.

The 16-year Israeli closure order against Bab al-Rahma expired in August and the Waqf, the Islamic endowment body tasked with managing the Temple Mount compound, has argued in favor of reopening the building claiming the Islamic heritage association that had been operating there had always been disbanded and its members arrested.

The incident further heightened tensions at the flashpoint site, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and gold-topped Dome of the Rock.

Residents said police were also restricting Palestinian access to Jerusalem's Old City, where the site is located. "All doors are closed and no one is allowed in", he said.

Police confirmed two arrests, while Dibs said six people had been arrested and 10 others injured in scuffles with police.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned in an official statement what he described as "Israeli escalation" following the clashes, and warned of "grave consequences".

"We call on the worldwide community to intervene urgently in order to prevent the escalation ... we are holding urgent talks with all relevant parties, particularly with Jordan, in order to put pressure on Israeli government to put a stop to this risky escalation", the statement issued by Abbas's office said.

The closure of the sacred compound also drew censure from Jordan, the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Abdul Nasser Abul al-Basal, Jordanian minister of Islamic affairs, told state-run Al-Mamlaka TV that the closure was an "attack on religious freedom".

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.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu lashed out at Israel over the incident, saying it was time to end the country's "recklessness".

His office said it has been in communication with a number of parties including Jordan, in an effort "to pressure the occupation's government to halt this risky escalation".

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