Palestinian Teens Indicted for Throwing Firebombs at Temple Mount Police Post

Suspects said to be motivated by anger over policeman who refused to take off shoes in mosque and walked on prayer rugs

At the Temple Mount after a firebomb was thrown at a police station, March 12, 2019.
Waqf Spokesman

Two teens from East Jerusalem, aged 15 and 17, were indicted for throwing firebombs that set the police post on the Temple Mount ablaze two weeks ago. Because of the arson attack, the holy site was closed for a few hours.

The two minors are accused of arson, an aggravated act of terrorism and attempted aggravated assault against a police officer. Jerusalem District prosecutors filed the indictment in juvenile court in the capital.

One police officer was lightly injured and the police post was seriously damaged in the incident.

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On March 12, the two “conspired to commit an act of terrorism against the police forces on the Temple Mount, by throwing firebombs and shooting fireworks at police forces with the goal of injuring the police officers at the site,” the indictment states. The suspects were accused of having nationalistic and ideological motives because of the recent events on the Temple Mount and in the area of the Golden Gate, also known as Bab al-Rahma.

The two teens are accused of approaching the entrance to the police post, with a number of police officers inside, lighting the firebomb bottles and throwing them at the post from about a meter away – as well as at the police officer sitting at the entrance. The firebombs hit the counter at the entrance and set the post on fire, states the indictment.

A nearby police officer saw the attack and called on one of the youths to stop – and the defendant then told his friend to shoot the fireworks at the police officers, and he did so from a distance of 15 to 20 meters away, states the indictment.

Haaretz reported that the alleged attackers said they identified the police officer who had stepped on prayer rugs at the Golden Gate site a few days earlier after the worshippers there refused to remove them.

The Bab al-Rahma building has become a flashpoint site of tension between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in recent weeks after the Islamic Waqf on the Temple Mount unilaterally reopened the site, which had been shut for 16 years on orders of the Israel Police after being used by a group with links to Hamas.

Last week, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court issued a temporary closure order for the site at the request of the police, though so far the police has avoided using force to enforce the closure.