Two people hurt in Temple Mount riots
Two Jews were injured during violent clashes on the Temple Mount yesterday, according to a police spokesperson.
Israeli police officers faced down hundreds of stone-throwing Palestinians outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as Jews visited the site on the anniversary of the capture of the Old City and East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.
A police spokesman said forces moved onto the compound, sacred to Jews as the site of the ancient Temples and to Muslims as the site from which Mohammed ascended to heaven, after several hundred Palestinians threw stones at Jewish visitors near the shrine.
In less than an hour, relative calm had been restored, with officials of the Waqf Islamic trust working to minimize tensions on the Palestinian side, and Israeli police refraining from further action.
However, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of bearing responsibility for the clashes.
Abbas said the Jews - who visited the site to mark Jerusalem Day - should not have been allowed into the mosque compound.
"The Israeli government and the international community must stop these unjustified and dangerous violations. They are to prevent any friction with bad results," he said during a tour of a Palestinian high school in Ramallah.
The incident began when two groups entered the compound with police escorts. A first group of tourists visited the site unhindered. A group of Jews then approached the entrance to the Temple Mount. Palestinians hurled stones at the second group and the police who accompanied them. One of the Palestinians drew close to the second group, and was arrested by police who suspected that he intended to attack.
Having requested backup from forces nearby, police responded with several stun grenades toward the Palestinians throwing stones near the entrance gate to the compound, said police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby.
The encounter became a standoff, as the Palestinians stood near the police, chanting slogans, but refraining from further clashes.
Police do not believe the events were planned in advance by the Palestinians.