Dozens of worshipers staged an anti-Israel rally in Iran over stepped-up security measures by Israeli forces at the Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem, which were set up in the wake of a terror attack on July 14 when three terrorists used weapons smuggled onto the compound to kill two Israeli officers near the site.
Chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America,” demonstrators in Tehran Friday afternoon were protesting Israel’s security measures at the site where the biblical Jewish temples stood and where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Israel rolled back all the security measures at entrances to the Temple Mount on Thursday, following nearly two weeks of violent clashes and a boycott of the compound by Muslim worshipers heeding calls to pray in the street.
Worshipers returned to the site on Thursday, and Friday prayers ended peacefully. Israel had restricted entry at the compound itself to men aged over 50 and women of all ages.
Extra police and border guard officers were deployed to Jerusalem hotspots Friday, and the military beefed up its presence in the West Bank, a week after heavy clashes in the capital and West Bank left five Palestinians dead and saw a Palestinian terrorist stab to death three Israelis at their Shabbat meal in a West Bank settlement.
On Friday afternoon, a Palestinian who tried to stab soldiers at a junction win the West Bank was shot dead, the army said, and a Palestinian teenager was reportedly killed in clashes between rioters and security forces along the Gaza border fence.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said the two dozen or so Palestinians were injured in low-level clashes in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Hebron, Tulkarem, Ramallah and the adjacent Qalandiya refugee camp.
The fate of the Temple Mount is an emotional issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even the smallest perceived change to delicate arrangements pertaining to the site sparks tensions.
Jews revere the hilltop compound as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. It is the holiest site in Judaism, and the nearby Western Wall, a remnant of one of the temples, is the holiest place where Jews can pray.
The walled compound is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.