Jerusalem police chief: If protests continue, don’t be surprised at casualties

Following the removal of recently added security devices and infrastructures from entrances to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevi warns that further violence over access to the holy site would not be tolerated, adding that “there will be casualties” if protesters attempt to disrupt the fragile peace.

Muslims have refused to enter the site since security equipment, including metal detectors and cameras, was installed after a terror attack on July 14 in which three Arab Israelis used weapons smuggled into the sacred compound to kill two Israeli policemen.

Speaking at the Western Wall shortly after Muslim religious authorities declared an end to a two-week boycott of prayers at the Al-Aqsa compound atop the Temple Mount, Halevi says that authorities will do all they can to prevent further unrest, but says protesters “should not be surprised” if police respond to disturbances with force.

“No one should try to test us tomorrow,” Halevi tells reporters, promising calm if worshipers follow the directions of their religious leaders to end protests. But “if there are people who try to disturb the peace tomorrow, to harm police or citizens, they should not be surprised: there will be casualties if there is violence tomorrow,” he says.

“Don’t test us,” he repeats, “because we know how to respond, and we know how to respond directly and forcefully.”

— Raoul Wootliff