Clashes erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim worshipers return to site
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Rocks thrown by worshipers fall on Western Wall plaza, causing no injuries

Clashes erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim worshipers return to site

Thousands of Palestinians enter compound after 12-day boycott, some hurl stones at police; 10 police officers, 115 Palestinians said injured

  • Worshipers wave a Palestinian flag and flash the victory gesture in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
    Worshipers wave a Palestinian flag and flash the victory gesture in front of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
  • Tear-gas fumes are seen at the Temple Mount compound as Israeli security forces disperse Palestinians at the complex on July 27, 2017.(AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
    Tear-gas fumes are seen at the Temple Mount compound as Israeli security forces disperse Palestinians at the complex on July 27, 2017.(AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
  • A Palestinian Muslim raises his arms and shouts slogans before Israeli security forces in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
    A Palestinian Muslim raises his arms and shouts slogans before Israeli security forces in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
  • Israeli security forces hold position as they stand guard in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)
    Israeli security forces hold position as they stand guard in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017.(AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)
  • Palestinians escort a Muslim cleric in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017, as clashes erupted with Israeli police at the site after thousands of Muslim worshippers entered to end a boycott of the compound over new Israeli security measures.
(AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)
    Palestinians escort a Muslim cleric in the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017, as clashes erupted with Israeli police at the site after thousands of Muslim worshippers entered to end a boycott of the compound over new Israeli security measures. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)

Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.

A police officer was lightly injured after a rock was thrown at his head, police said.

Channel 2 reported that 10 police officers were injured in the ensuing clashes.

Some 115 Palestinians were treated for injuries both inside the compound and in the surrounding area, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. A spokesperson said the injuries were mainly caused by rubber bullets, burns and bruises. Fifteen people were hospitalized, it said.

Police said worshipers began hurling rocks at security forces upon their reentry to the compound.

Some stones fell at the Western Wall plaza below, causing no injuries, a police spokesperson said.

The police responded to the stone-throwing with riot dispersal methods and vowed to forcefully combat any violence.

Muslims pray at the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Muslims pray at the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017.
(AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

After Israel removed the metal detectors and other security measures around the compound installed by police after a July 14 terror attack, Palestinians were given the all-clear by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jerusalem’s Muslim religious authorities on Thursday to end their 12-day boycott of the holy site.

However, a last-minute confrontation erupted at the Huta Gate where two Israeli policemen were killed on July 14 by three Arab Israeli gunmen who had smuggled weapons into the site. The Huta Gate was the final gate to remain closed as police rolled back the security measures this week.

Witnesses next to the Huta gate told The Times of Israel that police had opened and closed it a few times before dispersing the crowd with stun grenades. It was then closed and police barricaded off the area.

On July 27, 2017, Jerusalem's Mufti Mohammed Hussein is hoisted onto the shoulders of worshipers just before they enter the Temple Mount / Al Aqsa Compound for the first time in 12 days. (Dov Lieber / Times of Israel)
On July 27, 2017, Jerusalem’s Mufti Mohammed Hussein is hoisted onto the shoulders of worshipers just before they enter the Temple Mount / Al Aqsa Compound for the first time in 12 days. (Dov Lieber / Times of Israel)

Thousands of worshipers started to pour onto the Temple Mount, mostly through the Gate of the Tribes, near the Lions Gate entrance into the Old City, believing the Huta Gate had been opened for good. Hundreds were still refusing to go onto the Temple Mount until the Huta Gate is reopened permanently.

Crowds of worshipers lifted Jerusalem Mufti Mohammed Hussein on their shoulders at the Huta Gate as they proceeded to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for afternoon prayers.

Muslim Worshipers at the Lions Gate who refused to enter the Temple Mount Compound on July 27, 2017, even after thousands began pour onto the holy site. One protester waves a Turkish flag. (Dov Lieber / Times of Israel)
Muslim Worshipers at the Lions Gate who refused to enter the Temple Mount Compound on July 27, 2017, even after thousands began pour onto the holy site. One protester waves a Turkish flag. (Dov Lieber / Times of Israel)

One protester told a police officer at the scene that “the story is over, you can go home now” and worshipers cried and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) as they entered the compound.

Since the terror attack, the Palestinians had demanded Israel remove all the security measures, including railings and cameras, introduced at the site.

In addition to daily protests outside the Old City, uproar over the move also prompted violent clashes between police and the demonstrators, with five Palestinians killed in clashes last weekend.

Tensions at the site were also cited by the Palestinian terrorist who last week stabbed to death three members of the Salomon family during Shabbat dinner at their home in the West Bank settlement of Halamish.

While Israel maintained that the new measures — which included metal detectors, security cameras and metal railings — were necessary to guarantee security at the site in the wake of the shooting, demonstrators charged that the move was a violation of the status quo in place since Israel captured the site in the 1967 Six Day War.

Under the arrangement, Israel is responsible for security at the entrance’s to the Temple Mount, while the Jordanian-administered Waqf manages the holy site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount but not to pray there.

AFP contributed to this report.

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