Temple Mount clash avoided when police realized worshipers not planning attack

Claims that Muslim worshippers were barricading themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque overnight to be ready to attack Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount in the morning may have been unfounded, hence the police decision to not enter the compound to clear it out Sunday morning.

Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer tells CNN that “fortunately today, we didn’t have to go in, because the people who were in there did not go there according to our intelligence to perpetrate violence. And so therefore there were no incidents.”

After hours of reports that Muslims had barricaded themselves inside with weapons, police had been said early Sunday to be readying to go in to clear out the compound to allow Jewish visitors. Instead, police began allowing the Jewish visitors to enter, with police deployed to protect the groups Sunday morning.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, police did not raid the mosque after it was determined that those inside had not brought objects with them that could be used to carry out attacks.

The channel claimed that the group inside was nonetheless “evacuated in relative quiet” as Jewish visitors arrived. Previous reports had pointed to possible behind the scenes talks to convince the would-be rioters to stand down.

Dermer says that cops feared a repeat of violence last week, when worshipers and security forces clashed, leading to widespread condemnation of Israeli police actions to quell the rioting.

“You had about 300 young men, who were masked and who armed themselves with rocks and with incendiary explosives and with weapons,” he said, claiming they planned to attack innocent bystanders.

“What peaceful worshippers would actually use fireworks and desecrate the mosque? We do not want to go in there,” he adds. “I think it’s happened three times in the last half-dozen years. It is the last thing that we want to do.”

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