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Cops arrest 9 Palestinians suspected of Temple Mount unrest

More suspects will be picked up in coming days, police say, as holy site again becomes source of violence

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Masked Palestinian protesters wearing pieces of cloth around their bodies gesture during clashes with the Israeli police at Jerusalem's Temple Mount compound for the thrid consecutive day on June 28, 2016. (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)
Masked Palestinian protesters wearing pieces of cloth around their bodies gesture during clashes with the Israeli police at Jerusalem's Temple Mount compound for the thrid consecutive day on June 28, 2016. (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)

Nine East Jerusalem residents were arrested Sunday for taking part in violent demonstrations on the Temple Mount, bringing the total number of recent arrests in connection with the holy site up to 58, police said.

Law enforcement anticipated additional arrests as police officers worked to identify those who have thrown rocks and otherwise taken part in riots in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The month-long holiday of Ramadan has seen an uptick in violence and unrest in the West Bank and Israel. The Temple Mount in particular, which was the site of multiple riots and violent incidents last September, had been relatively calm until the recent outbreak of rock throwing and clashes between worshipers and police.

On Friday night, a number of Arab men hurled stones at Israeli security forces stationed at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. Police quickly responded with riot dispersal measures, and there were no injuries or damage reported.

“The police have no intention of ignoring the latest disturbances that have happened on the Temple Mount and in the Old City area. We will continue to operate with all the tools at our disposal to locate, arrest and bring to justice the rioters,” Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi said in a statement on Sunday.

On Friday, Halevi instructed more than 3,000 police and Border Police officers to deploy throughout the capital ahead of the nighttime prayers.

The police in Jerusalem were placed on the highest level of alert Friday, shortly after a deadly shooting attack in the South Hebron Hills killed yeshiva head Miki Mark, and a day after 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death in her home at the Kiryat Arba settlement.

An Israeli car hit in a drive-by shooting near Hebron that killed Miki Mark on July 1, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
An Israeli car hit in a drive-by shooting near Hebron that killed Miki Mark on July 1, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Miki Mark’s wife, Hava, was still in serious but stable condition Saturday morning, the head of Hadassah Ein Kerem’s trauma unit said.

“Despite [her] serious condition, the doctors are satisfied and she is stable,” said Professor Avi Rivkind. She was hit by gunfire during the attack that killed her husband and wounded two of her children.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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