Five Wounded in Palestinian Stone-throwing at Temple Mount, Police Enter Compound

Palestinians put up barriers in efforts to block Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem ■ 17 Palestinians wounded in clashes with police: Red Crescent ■ Jordan says Israel bears full responsibility for consequences

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Palestinian girls kneel to pray in front of the Dome of Rock mosque at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 15, 2022.
Palestinian girls kneel to pray in front of the Dome of Rock mosque at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, on April 15, 2022.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

Palestinians threw stones at buses driving Jewish visitors to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, lightly wounding five passengers as clashes renewed at the contested site.

Earlier, police forces entered the Temple Mount compound in order to keep out Palestinians who gathered stones and put up improvised barriers in an effort to block Jewish visitors. Two Palestinians suspected of the stone-throwing were arrested.

Clashes resume at Temple Mount.
Police separate Jews from Muslims and allow groups to enter

The Temple Mount, located in Jerusalem's Old City, is the third holiest in Islam and the holiest for Jews. It has long been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Palestinians wave Hamas flags during a protest against Israel, in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday. Credit: Mahmoud Illean /AP

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 17 were wounded in clashes near Lion's Gate in the Old City, and that five were taken to the hospital. Meanwhile, police are allowing Jews to enter the compound in groups, and dozens continue to wait at Mughrabi Gate in the Old City. The most recent reports said 728 Jewish visitors had entered the site Sunday.

Another tense morning on the Mount. Police enter in large forces in order to allow in Jews.

According to a police statement, "hundreds of youths, some masked, began collecting and stockpiling stones in the Mount's passageways in an effort to create disorder and block visitor pathways by means of stones and other improvised barriers. Police forces are working to keep them out in order to allow visitors to the site."

Israeli border police force patrol an alley in Jerusalem's Old City today.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett later held a security briefing and emphasized the importance of allowing Jews, Muslims and Christians to celebrate their holidays in Jerusalem.

Bennett went on to say that rioters disturbing the peace must be handled.

Palestinians shout slogans at Al-Aqsa Mosque following clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said Sunday that police actions at the Temple Mount were "coordinated with the Waqf at every step," and that they had waited for prayers to conclude before entering the mosque.

"I knew that if we didn’t remove them from the mosque, there would be no Friday prayers, which are deeply significant. And as long as they remained in the mosque, they continued throwing firecrackers toward the Western Wall and harming worshippers. The bottom line was preserving freedom of worship," Turgeman said.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in response, "Israel's measures to change the status quo on the Mount are a dangerous escalation. Israel bears full responsibility for the consequences of the current escalation that is thwarting efforts invested to bring about calm."

Police forces on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Friday.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI - AFP

"The Israel Police have no right to organize visits by non-Muslims there. Only the Muslim Waqf does," the ministry added, referring to the Islamic trust that has governed access to the Temple Mount for centuries.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad also issued statements declaring that Israel is fully responsible for the escalation.

The incidents follow predawn Friday clashes at the site. Israel Police said they entered the compound that morning after masked men, carrying Hamas and Palestinian Authority flags, threw stones and set off fireworks after prayer at 4 A.M. They said forces entered the compound only after prayer ended and that Palestinians continued throwing rocks and setting fireworks after police arrived.

In a rare move, the forces entered Al-Aqsa Mosque itself on Friday after Palestinians threw stones at police forces from the entrance and barricaded themselves inside. About 470 people were arrested – a substantial amount in comparison with those of previous years' clashes. Some of the detainees were handcuffed and blindfolded, an unusual step for Temple Mount arrests. Most were released over the weekend.

According to the Red Crescent, 152 Palestinians were struck by sponge-tipped bullets and suffered tear-gas inhalation on Friday, leaving two in serious condition. Three police officers were also lightly wounded in the clashes, which continued for about six hours. Police subsequently allowed the worshipers to return to the Temple Mount. On Saturday, the area was relatively calm.

The clashes drew multiple condemnations, including from the Palestinian Authority, which stated, "The events prove the lie of the Bennett government – that there is an aim of maintaining the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Following Friday's clashes, the U.S. State Department and the French, German, Italian and Spanish foreign ministers called on the two sides to refrain from engaging in violence.

This year the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the weeklong Jewish Passover holiday are occurring at the same time, with tens of thousands of visitors flocking to the city.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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