Police out in force day after riots at Jerusalem holy site

Masked Palestinians throw stones at Israeli border police in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Police were out in force at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites Monday, one day after 150 Palestinians rioted there.

Authorities contained tensions at the site, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif. In one incident, though, police arrested 10 Palestinian youths Monday after some people threw rocks at Orthodox Jews, said Mickey Rosenfeld, spokesman for the Israeli police. About 30,000 Jews arrived at the Western Wall on Monday for the traditional priestly blessing on the holiday of Sukkot. The Western Wall is adjacent to the Temple Mount. About 150 Palestinians rioted near the site Sunday after police in Jerusalem closed the mount to Muslim worshippers and visitors. Police said they did so to minimize the possibility of violence after calls were issued in Palestinian media to “come and protect the Mount.” Palestinians who had finished praying near the mount began to throw stones and bottles at police forces in the area Sunday, Rosenfeld said. Police dispersed the rioters and arrested three; one officer was slightly hurt, he said.

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Palestinian official Sabri Saidam accused Israel of “stepping up its hostile confrontation to the Palestinian population” by systematically seeking “to alienate worshippers and the Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem and beyond by allowing Jewish worshippers to visit al Aqsa mosque.” That mosque is part of Haram Al-Sharif, which means “the noble sanctuary.” Saidam warned of more possible violence. “Such attitudes may ignite the situation on the ground and are widely seen by Palestinians as an attempt on the Israeli government side to divert attention from the pressing need to end its occupation of Palestinian land and thus reduce international pressure on its different political domain,” he said. An Israeli soldier was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian on Monday after boarding a bus at a roadblock near Jerusalem, Israeli military and police spokesman said. The soldier was hospitalized in “moderate” condition; police arrested the assailant, the spokesmen said. Sunday was the second day of Sukkot, a Jewish holiday when many Jews visit the Old City and the Western Wall, adding to the tensions in the area. Police re-opened the Temple Mount on Monday for Muslim males age 50 or older and to Muslim females of any age, but it remained closed to tourists.