Jordan rails against Israel’s ‘violation’ on Temple Mount
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Jordan rails against Israel’s ‘violation’ on Temple Mount

Hours after clashes, Hashemite Kingdom says visit by hundreds of Jews on day of mourning for destruction of temples ‘designed to ignite hostility’

Palestinian rioters hurl rocks at Israeli Police in front of the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday, July 26, 2015. (screen capture: Israel Police video)
Palestinian rioters hurl rocks at Israeli Police in front of the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday, July 26, 2015. (screen capture: Israel Police video)

Amman on Sunday condemned a visit by Jews to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount earlier in the day as a provocative act designed to ignite hostilities after violent clashes at the holy site between Arab rioters and Israeli security forces left several officers injured.

Jordan called the clashes a “violation” of the site. Hundreds of Israelis visited the Temple Mount on Sunday, which was Tisha B’Av, the day of mourning and fasting commemorating the destruction of two Jewish Temples.

Jews consider the Temple Mount, formerly the site of the two Temples, to be Judaism’s holiest site. Muslims believe the compound which today contains the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, known in Arabic as the Holy Sanctuary, is the third holiest site in Islam.

Among the group of Jews who visited the Temple Mount was Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, a lawmaker with the right-wing Jewish Home party.

“The violation of the sacredness of Haram al-Sharif or holy sanctuary, and the assault against its guards and the worshipers, are a violation of the feelings of all Arabs and Muslims and are designed to ignite further hostility,” Jordanian minister Mohammad Momani said, according to state-run media.

Ensuing skirmishes between police and Muslim rioters on the Temple Mount left four police officers injured. Several Arab protesters were arrested. Footage uploaded by the Israel Police of Sunday’s incident appeared to show masked Palestinian protesters throwing rocks and firing firecrackers at officers.

Palestinian rioters hurl rocks at Israeli Police at the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday, July 26, 2015. (screen capture: Israel Police video)
Palestinian rioters hurl rocks at Israeli Police at the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Sunday, July 26, 2015. (screen capture: Israel Police video)

כוח משטרה המורכב משוטרי מחוז ירושלים ולוחמי מג”ב השתלט הבוקר על הפרות סדר של מתפרעים בהר הבית. הכוח פעל בנחישות אל מול האלימות של רעולי הפנים, אותה ניתן לראות בסרטון המצורף. השוטרים השיבו את השקט למקום ואפשרו לפתוח את הר הבית לביקורים. בסה”כ ביקרו היום בשטח ההר כ-1,200 מבקרים. במקביל לפעילות המבצעית הכוחות מקיימים כל העת הידברות עם נציגי הווקף והגורמים הרלבנטיים לשמירה על השקט במקום ולאפשר ביקורים כבשגרה. נמשיך לגלות אפס סבלנות כלפי כל ניסיון להפר את הסדר ולפגוע בסטטוס קוו. כמו כן, נפעל לאיתור ומעצר המתפרעים ונדאג למצות עימם את הדין.

Posted by ‎Israel Police – משטרת ישראל‎ on Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Sunday called the “storming” of the compound was a “dangerous escalation,” according to the Islamist terrorist group’s website.

According to police, the protesters had stockpiled homemade explosives, firecrackers and wooden boards inside the mosque, with the intention of attacking thousands of Jewish worshipers gathered below for prayers at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av, a fast and day of mourning that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.

Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in Jerusalem's Old City on July 26, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)
Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 26, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI)

“Masked rioters fled into the mosque and started to throw stones and blocks at police from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque. They threw fireworks directly at police,” a police statement said, adding that a number of police were wounded.

Six Palestinians were arrested, an AFP photographer reported.

Under the terms of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, the Temple Mount remains under Jordanian custodianship through the Waqf authorities, who maintain administrative charge of the holy site. Jewish visitors are allowed on the Temple Mount but are forbidden to pray there.

AFP contributed to this report.

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