Third Day of Riots: Clashes on Temple Mount

July 4, 2014  

Arab rioters attacked police on the Temple Mount Friday afternoon, unimpeded by restrictions imposed on Muslim worshipers to access Judaism’s holiest site due to ongoing violent riots in Jerusalem. 

Police have begun riot control measures on the site, according to Yediot Aharonoth, including using stun grenades to handle the unruly mob. Multiple stun grenade explosions were heard as of Friday afternoon on the Mount; tens of enraged Arabs are also rioting and attempting to break through police barriers at the Dung Gate (Sha’ar Ha’ashpot) near the Western Wall (Kotel). 

Earlier Friday, police announced that access to the Mount would be limited for Muslims to males with Israeli citizenship over the age of 50 and all female worshipers. Friday also marks the first Friday, or Muslim day of rest, of the month-long fast of Ramadan. 

Riots are frequent on the Mount, with Muslim visitors clashing with Israeli police, often with the result of blocking Jewish access to the site, which was the location of the First and Second Temples. 

Tensions high in Jerusalem

Meanwhile, tens of Arab rioters surrounded police officers in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras-Al-Amud on Friday afternoon, hurling large stones at security forces.

Minutes later, a similar lynch mob approached security forces in nearby Wadi Joz. Riot dispersal measures were used in both neighborhoods and no injuries were reported. 

Rioting in Jerusalem has been worsening throughout the week, after rumors circulated that 16-year-old Mohammed Abu-Khder’s murder was an act of Jewish “revenge” over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19). 

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as some in the international media, have since repeated those claims as fact. Israeli leaders – including the mayor of Jerusalem and Prime Minister Netanyahu – rushed to condemn the murder, despite the lack of clear evidence suggesting that the murder was an act of nationalistic revenge. 

In fact, several reports indicate the abduction was in fact carried out by Arabs as an “honor killing” or another kind of criminal murder. There have been conflicting testimonies from the boy’s own parents about an alleged abduction reported the night before the murder, in which his mother said the assailants were Jews, while the father insisted they were Arabs.

Nevertheless, the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat has since become a flashpoint for chaos and violence.

On Wednesday and Thursday, rioters threw pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, and rocks at Israeli forces and the press and shouted anti-Semitic chants; three Jerusalem Light Rail stations were burnt down as well.

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