Police close Temple Mount after clash with stone throwers

Palestinians report four hurt during skirmish with Israeli forces; one policeman lightly injured amid boosted security for Jerusalem Day

An Israeli policeman and four Palestinians were reported injured in clashes on the Temple Mount Wednesday morning, as tensions ramped up amid Israeli celebrations of the anniversary of the city’s reunification.

Police closed the Temple Mount after a security assessment, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Police entered the compound Wednesday morning after rocks were thrown as the Mughrabi gate opened to visitors. One policeman was lightly injured by a stone.

Palestinians reported that Israeli forces used rubber bullets and stun grenades against rioters, injuring four people, according to Ma’an news Agency.

A Hamas-linked news outlet said three of the injured were from Turkey, according to an Israel Radio report.

It was the second straight day that clashes were reported on the Temple Mount. On Tuesday, an Israeli police officer was injured when Arabs threw stones at a group of Jews visiting the holy site.

Wednesday is Jerusalem Day, when Israeli Jews mark the capture of the Old City from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War. Police said they ramped up security in the Old City, where a number of celebrations are planned, including the end to a march from the city’s Sacher Park later in the day.

The Waqf Foundation, which administrates the Temple Mount, charged Tuesday that Israeli nationalists were planning to march through the al-Aqsa compound to mark the holiday. However, the parade will not enter the Temple Mount compound, but rather end at the Western Wall.

The Temple Mount’s profile as a point of contention between Israelis and Arabs has risen in recent months, as right-wing politicians and activists have been vying in Israel’s Knesset to pass through legislation that would allow Jewish prayer at the compound, which is considered the holiest site in Judaism.

On Monday, Pope Francis toured the site, calling on groups not to use violence in the name of God.

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