Five Palestinians arrested after Temple Mount clash with police
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Five Palestinians arrested after Temple Mount clash with police

Officers say conflict ensued after worshipers tried to force their way into the barricaded ‘Gate of Mercy’ area

Palestinian demonstrators break open the locked entrance to the Gate of Mercy compound outside the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, February 18, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Palestinian demonstrators break open the locked entrance to the Gate of Mercy compound outside the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, February 18, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Palestinian worshipers clashed with police officers on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Monday after they tried to break into a closed area, a police spokesman said.

“In Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, five people were arrested for attempting to enter a closed area based on a court order,” said Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

The Palestinians tried to force their way into the compound leading to the Gate of Mercy, or Golden Gate, an area sealed by Israeli authorities to stop illegal excavations, Channel 12 news reported.

The disturbances were subdued and regular visits to the holy site continued as usual, Rosenfeld said.

In a separate incident last Thursday, the Muslim Waqf religious council broke into the are and held prayers there, despite the site being closed by police in light of a court order several years ago.

The Temple Mount — site of the biblical Jewish temples, and currently of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine — is holy to both Jews and Muslims, and has often been an epicenter of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Multiple car-rammings, stabbings and shootings in recent years were attributed by Palestinian attackers to a perceived attempt by Israel to change the status quo at the site. The Israeli government has firmly and repeatedly denied it intended to change the 50-year-old arrangement.

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