The Times of Israel reports: Thousands of worshipers visited the Western Wall Saturday night for the start of the Jewish day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the ancient temples that once stood atop the adjacent Temple Mount compound.
Israeli police boosted their presence at the Jerusalem holy site for Tisha B’Av, which began Saturday evening and ends 25 hours later.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Friday that “hundreds of extra police will be carrying out security measures in and around the Old City of Jerusalem” over the weekend.
Reports Saturday said some 2,000 people flocked to the Western Wall Plaza to recite the evening prayers and listen to the Book of Eicha, or Lamentations, which tells of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian Empire in the 6th century BCE.
Advocates for Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest site in Islam, have called on Jews to visit the sensitive area, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif compound or the Noble Sanctuary.
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