Palestinian Worshipers at Al-Aqsa Block Policeman Over Kippah; Scuffles Ensue

Mosque director lightly wounded in brawl between worshipers and police after guards barricade themselves inside Jerusalem mosque

File photo: Israeli Border Police officers near the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, July 28, 2017.
Emil Salman

Scuffles broke out on Monday at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City after worshipers at the mosque refused to allow an Israeli policeman to enter for a routine security check, because he was wearing a kippah.

Firas Dibs, a spokesman for the Islamic authority that oversees the site, says scuffles erupted between dozens of worshipers and police after the guards closed the doors to the mosque and barricaded themselves inside. He says the director of the mosque was lightly wounded.

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The gold-domed mosque is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which Muslims consider their third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. It is the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of the second biblical temple.

The holy site is at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and past clashes there have sparked widespread violence.

Israeli police could not immediately be reached for comment.