Temple Mount Prayers Conclude; Palestinians, Israeli Forces Clash in West Bank, Gaza

Tens of thousands of worshippers pray on Temple Mount ■ Hundreds of Palestinians clash with Israeli forces ■ Palestinians say one killed along Gaza border ■ Al-Aqsa Mosque open to all for evening prayer, Waqf says

Yotam Berger
Gili Cohen
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian protesters burn a tire during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on July 28, 2017, as protests erupt in support of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound after Israeli police barred men under 50 from Friday prayers in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Palestinian protesters burn a tire during clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on July 28, 2017, as protests erupt in support of tCredit: HAZEM BADER/AFP
Yotam Berger
Gili Cohen
Jack Khoury

Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers prayed on the Temple Mount on Friday amid clashes between Israeli forces and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, where one Palestinian died.

The Israeli police decided to bar men under the age of 50 from entering the site during the mid-day prayers, and thousands of men who didn't meet the age requirement gathered near checkpoints outside. No clashes or other violent incidents were reported there.

Muslim worshippers enter the Temple Mount on Friday.

By late Friday afternoon, the Al-Aqsa Mosque was open without restrictions ahead of the evening prayer, the Waqf, the Muslim custodian of the site, said.

It says "all doors are opened in front of worshippers without restrictions or conditions." Israeli police confirmed that age restrictions and other measures set earlier in wake of security assessments warning of Palestinian violence have been lifted.

Meanwhile on Friday a Palestinian terrorist was shot and killed after he tried to stab soldiers at the Gush Etzion intersection in the West Bank on Friday.

The assailant ran towards a popular hitchhiking spot where the soldiers were standing, wielding a knife. The assailant was critically shot by the soldiers and died of his wounds shortly after.

Also, Gaza's Health Ministry said that a Palestinian teen was killed from IDF fire in Gaza. The army said it was investigating, but noted that in recent hours clashes were reported along the border fence, with dozens burning tires and rolling them at Israeli forces, which fired at them.

Israeli security forces stand at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City July 27, 2017. Credit: MUAMMAR JAMEL AWAD/REUTERS

Medical officials in Gaza said that in addition to the 16-year-old who had died, six people were treated after Palestinians marched on the border with Israel.

A total of 600 Palestinians were reported to be involved in clashes across the West Bank, with 11 Palestinians being wounded from rubber bullets and 30 from tear gas inhalation. Two were also injured by ruger-rifle fire. One soldier was lightly wounded after being struck with a rock.

In Bethlehem approximately 200 Palestinians gathered near Rachel's Tomb, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. One person was reported injured there in clashes with security forces.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered increased deployment of security forces around the site on Thursday night, expecting tens of thousands of worshippers to arrive at the compound for mid-day prayers.

The police increased their presence in the area but in practice there are no security measures in place which were not there two weeks ago, when three assailants shot two police officers dead outside the Mount. 

After two weeks of boycotting prayers at the compound in protest of metal detectors and other security measures implemented there, thousands of Muslim worshippers attended Thursday’s mid-day prayers. Thousands remained in the area until it was time for evening and nigh-time prayers. 

A few Palestinian youths were arrested on Thursday night after trying to remain in the mosque after prayers were over. They were asked to leave by the Waqf custodians, and when they refused to do so the police broke through the mosque’s doors. More than 100 Palestinians and a police officer were wounded in clashes that ensued. 

The security cabinet decided on Monday to remove the metal detectors, which had sparked a wave of protests among Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as in the entire Arab world.

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