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Police remove 2 Jewish visitors from Temple Mount

Four Muslims arrested on suspicion of public disturbance as over 1,000 people visit contested holy site on Shavuot holiday

View of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 29, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
View of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, September 29, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Two Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount were removed from the premises of the holy site Sunday after violating the rules of entry, police said.

Jews are permitted to visit the Temple Mount, but prohibited from praying there.

Four Muslim visitors to the flashpoint site were taken in for questioning on suspicion of public disturbance. Police said 1,034 visitors came to the Temple Mount on Sunday, the vast majority foreign tourists.

Sunday marks the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, and thousands of worshippers were anticipated at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, which abuts the flashpoint holy site.

Jews consider the Temple Mount, site of two Jewish temples in antiquity, the holiest site on Earth, while Muslims deem the complex, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, their religion’s third holiest.

The Temple Mount has been at the center of months-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, who fear growing a Jewish presence at the site.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to keep the status quo banning Jewish prayer at the holy site in place, as the merest rumors of changes to regulations in the compound, revered by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary, has led to flare-ups of Palestinian violence.

In a separate incident Sunday, 20 Palestinian cars in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem, just outside the Temple Mount, were vandalized.

Police were investigating the incident and searching for suspected perpetrators.

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