A second consecutive day of violence at Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site prompted a rare warning Monday from the king of Jordan, the custodian of the ancient sites, while an Israeli man died and several people were injured after attacks by rock-throwing Palestinians.
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King Abdullah II warned Israel, saying the kingdom was "very concerned and angered with the recent escalation's in Jerusalem, specifically in Al Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem. He issued a statement ahead of a meeting with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"We have gotten reassurances from the Israelis government that this would not happen. Unfortunately, these are reassurances we have heard in the past," the king said. "Any more provocations in Jerusalem, will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel; and Jordan will have no choice, but to take action, unfortunately."
The holy site is a frequent flashpoint and its fate is a core issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, administers Muslim religious affairs at the site, sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The compound is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, site of the two biblical Jewish temples. Muslims revere it as the Noble Sanctuary, where they believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.
The U.S. State Department on Monday voiced concern about violence at the holy site.
"The United States is deeply concerned by the increase in violence and escalating tensions surrounding the (al-)Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount," said State Department spokesman John Kirby. "We strongly condemn all acts of violence. It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."
Earlier Monday, Israeli police and Palestinian stone-throwers clashed for the second day at the site. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said protesters threw rocks at officers who entered the area to ensure security. She said several masked Palestinians suspected of stone throwing were arrested. Police also arrested protesters who attacked a Jewish man, she said.
The director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Omar Kiswani, said dozens of people had stayed at the mosque overnight. He said police "stormed" the area on Monday morning, firing tear gas and stun grenades and making several arrests.
The 64-year-old Israeli, Alexander Levlovitz, died and two passengers were hurt after attackers pelted their car with rocks in Jerusalem. Samri said the man was injured as he was driving home from a meal marking the Jewish new year and later died of his injuries. She said the identity of the attackers was unknown but that they were likely from a nearby Arab neighborhood.
Later Monday, another Israeli was injured by Palestinian rock throwers on the outskirts of the Old City in Jerusalem, police said.
There has been a spike in Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians and soldiers over the past year, which has included fatalities and casualties.
On Sunday, police clashed with Palestinians who barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City and threw rocks and firecrackers.
Since Israel captured east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, Jewish worshippers have been allowed to visit — but not pray — at the compound.
Muslim authorities view the presence of Jewish worshippers and Israeli police as a provocation and accuse Jewish extremists of plotting to take over the site.
Israel has promised to ensure the status quo at the site.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office announced on Monday evening that he would fast-track legislation to set a minimum sentence for stone and firebomb throwing.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the latest escalation at holy sites in Jerusalem and other violence, including the stone-throwing incident that led to the death of an Israeli man, "once again underscored the importance of reaching a final status agreement through negotiations on all issues, including arrangements for the holy sites that are acceptable to all."
Palestinians have also been assaulted — in the deadliest such incident, a Palestinian toddler was killed in an arson attack on a home in the West Bank in July. His parents later died of their wounds suffered in that attack. That attack was widely condemned across Israel's political spectrum and the government vowed to crackdown on Israeli extremists.