15 arrested on Temple Mount after violent clashes

Security forces take control of holy site after Palestinian youths throw stones for second time in three days; no injuries

Fifteen Palestinians were arrested for rock-hurling Friday when Jerusalem police took control of the Temple Mount after rioting erupted at the holy site.

Palestinian youths at the site began an onslaught of stone-throwing at officers on Friday morning, Israel Police said.

No injuries were reported, as police used stun grenades to quell the riot and let worshipers leave the site.

On Wednesday, 15 people were arrested ahead of the Jewish New Year after they threw stones and clashed with police at site. Police also stopped several buses carrying some 100 Muslim worshipers from accessing the site on suspicion that they intended to cause disturbances. There were no reports of injuries.

Tensions have risen around Jerusalem in the days around the Wednesday night-to-Friday Rosh Hashanah holiday.

“Lately, we’ve witnessed efforts to incite [against Israel] from the likes of [leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement] Raed Salah and others on the Temple Mount. I see such behavior as very grave and I will not let radical elements disturb the peace, especially on holiday days. Anyone who acts with intent to harm will be arrested by police,” Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said after Wednesday’s incident.

Earlier this week, Salah was arrested on charges of incitement stemming from a speech he gave in Kafr Qara last week in which he accused Israel of trying to take over the Temple Mount and called on Muslims across Israel to block Jews from entering. He was released Wednesday morning on condition that he stay at least 30 kms away from Jerusalem for the next 180 days.

Last weekend, Israeli security forces thwarted a plot to set off a bomb at Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem during the holiday. Two East Jerusalem residents, reportedly recruited by Hamas, confessed to planning the attack.

Jerusalem District Police have beefed up security around the city, with thousands of police, Border Police and volunteer policemen stationed around the Old City and East Jerusalem. Security for tourist and prayer sites, synagogues and shopping malls was also heightened throughout the city.

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