Five arrested for planning Passover sacrifice on Temple Mount

Police transfer animal to Ministry of Agriculture, bring in suspects for further questioning

A Jewish man looks towards the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, 2013. (AP Photo/Simone Camilli)
A Jewish man looks towards the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, 2013. (AP Photo/Simone Camilli)

Five Jewish Israelis were arrested Monday after allegedly attempting to sacrifice a goat at the Temple Mount in honor of the Passover holiday.

The suspects were brought in to a nearby police station for further questioning. The goat was transferred to representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ynet reported.

In the bible, a special ritual sacrifice is commanded on the Passover holiday and the custom was practiced by Jews during the First and Second Temple periods when their central shrine stood on the same site that today houses the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. However, most rabbinic authorities hold that the practice is forbidden nowadays.

Earlier Monday, Palestinian entry to the Temple Mount was restricted by Israeli security forces ahead of Passover. Only Muslim women and men over the age of 50 who have Israeli ID cards were permitted to enter the compound.

Tourists and Jews were barred from entering the site out of concern for potential altercations.

Disturbances on the Temple Mount are not uncommon, and often accompany political tension or visits by Israeli right-wing activists.

On Sunday, riot police were called in to quell a violent protest at the Temple Mount’s Mughrabi gate as the site opened to visitors in the morning.

Two police were lightly injured after rioters threw stones and two Molotov cocktails at about 8 a.m., police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

Police responded by entering the al-Aqsa mosque compound and using stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the rioters, he said.

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