Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015|7:33 a.m.
JERUSALEM (AP)– Israeli authorities briefly clashed with Palestinian protesters at Jerusalem’s the majority of sensitive holy site early Sunday, raising stress in the holy city ahead of the Jewish New Year.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said forces moved into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound at around 7 a.m. Sunday after cops received reports that protesters were planning to disrupt visits to the area by Jewish worshippers and tourists.
He said the protesters barricaded themselves inside the mosque and threw rocks and firecrackers at cops. He said police did not go into the mosque, but removed barriers around the building. Suspected pipe bombs were discovered at the entrance to the mosque, cops spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Cops released video showing lit firecrackers and other objects tossed by Palestinians inside the mosque at the officers on the outside with some firecrackers blowing up within the holy website.
There were no reports of arrests or injuries. The site was closed for 3 hours during the standoff but then re-opened for visitors.
The hilltop compound is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, website of the two scriptural Jewish temples. Muslims call the website the Noble Sanctuary and revere it as the area where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
The website is a regular flashpoint of violence. Because Israel recorded east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, Jewish worshippers have been permitted to go to– but not hope– at the site. The area is administered by Muslim authorities and is under Jordanian custody. Muslim authorities see the presence of Jewish worshippers and Israeli cops as a provocation and accuse Jewish extremists of plotting to take over the website.
Abdelazem Salhab, an official with the Waqf, the Islamic body that runs the site, implicated authorities of triggering “large damage” inside the mosque. “They crashed numerous windows and harmed many carpets,” he said.
“Jews have no rights in the mosque and its yard,” he said. “The role of Israeli authorities as the inhabiting power is safeguarding this website from non-Muslims who prepare to take it over, not helping them.”
Police stated they did not get in the site, and that any damage was caused by fireworks fired up by Palestinian protesters inside.
Video later launched by cops showed Ahmed Tibi, an Arab legislator in Israel’s parliament, chewing out officers and calling their presence “a provocation.”
Israeli Head of state Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is committed to protecting the compound’s status, but would not endure violence at the holy site.
“It is our duty and our right to act against law breakers to allow flexibility of worship at this holy site. We will act assertively versus those throwing rocks, firebombs, pipe bombs or other device,” he stated.
In bordering Jordan, federal government representative Mohammad Momani gotten in touch with Israel to end its “provocative acts.”