Israel Police Battle Arab Rioters on Temple Mount; PA Official Arrested

Abbas aide among 15 arrested by Jerusalem police in fresh unrest; three cops wounded.

Stone-throwing Arab youths wounded three policemen on the Temple Mount on Sunday as Jerusalem police, firing water cannons and stun grenades, raided the holy site in a bid to quell repeated bouts of rioting. At least 25 Palestinians were wounded over the course of the day.

Police stormed the compound twice; the first time was in response to Arab youths who pelted officers with rocks and poured oil on them.

Later Sunday morning, about 100 Arab youths renewed rioting at the Temple Mount, after which Border Police and regular policemen raided the site again, using stun grenades to disperse the rioters.

Police were attempting to completely clear the compound of worshippers. Officers arrested some 16 people during the disturbances.

During the clash, police arrested Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' adviser on Jerusalem affairs, Hatam Abd al-Qadir, on suspicion of disorderly conduct. Police said he attacked officers and urged worshippers to hold a protest march.

Ali Abu Sheikha, a senior official from the northern faction of the Islamic movement was also arrested during the clashes.

Police said Abu Sheikha was at the Temple Mount disrupting the peace and inciting the youths.

Early Sunday morning, police were patrolling near the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem, when the youths began to hurl stones at them. Officers subsequently stormed the compound and arrested 12 people on suspicion of disorderly conduct.

A large wall of riot police, holding glass shields, closed in on the crowd, sending many of the rioters running into the mosque for cover.

Arab youths hurled a firebomb at police during clashes at the site, but no one was wounded.

A Jerusalem police spokesman, Shmuel Ben-Ruby said police did not enter the Al-Aqsa mosque atop the compound.

The violence came after Jerusalem police announced Saturday that they would beef up their forces on Sunday around the Temple Mount, after Muslim leaders urged Arabs to defend Jerusalem against "Jewish conquest."

There have been repeated rumors among Palestinians that Jewish extremists are planning on harming the holy site. No such attempt has been made.

Earlier in the month, Police clashed sporadically with Muslim protesters in and around the compound. No one was seriously wounded, but in the past deadly violence has erupted at the site.