After attack from Al-Aqsa, police threw stun grenade inside

TV: Palestinians stocked rocks for Temple Mount riots, police caught unawares

Authorities said to have had no knowledge of caches of slabs, stones, and fireworks at Al-Aqsa compound, used by rioters during Friday’s mass unrest

Israeli riot police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on May 7, 2021 (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
Israeli riot police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on May 7, 2021 (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

In the days leading up to Friday’s mass rioting in the Temple Mount compound Palestinians had stockpiled stone slabs, rocks and fireworks around the site, according to a Saturday television report.

The Channel 12 report indicated police would look into why it had not managed to get wind of the preparations for the violent clashes at the holy site.

The clashes and riots at the compound that hosts the Al-Qasa Mosque followed prayers held there on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. At least 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli police officers were wounded during the events.

Some of the stockpiled means were used during the Friday clashes, and there were fears they may be used again in the coming days, the report said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that at least 205 Palestinians were wounded in clashes throughout Jerusalem on Friday, mostly around the Temple Mount and by the Damascus Gate. Eighty-eight Palestinians were hospitalized, mostly for injuries with rubber-coated steel bullets, it said.

Anger grew on Saturday with the circulation of a video in which a stun grenade is seen detonating inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, after it was launched into the building by Israeli security forces. According to Channel 12 this was in response to attacks on the forces from within the mosque.

Other images online appeared to show the riot police entering the main mosque building amid the violent clash.

The international community, including Israel’s Arab allies, condemned the Jewish state Saturday for security forces “storming” of Al-Aqsa during the clashes.

The Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem has long been one of the main flashpoints of Israeli-Palestinian friction. The holiest place in Judaism — as the site of the two biblical temples — is also home to the Muslim holy sites of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

Israeli riot police clash with Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem Old City on May 7, 2021.(Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Israel fears the potential for a major escalation of the conflict in the coming days, and was braced for more violence on Saturday, the holiest night of Ramadan, in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with top security officials to assess the situation. “We are acting responsibly to ensure law and order in Jerusalem while maintaining freedom of worship at the holy sites,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

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