JERUSALEM — Muslim rioters tonight engaged in violent clashes targeting Israeli security forces in Jerusalem’s Old City near a main entrance to the Temple Mount, with reports of at least 34 people injured, including 14 requiring hospitalization.
Tuesday night’s clashes marked the third consecutive day that rioters engaged in violent tactics, with the agitators reportedly lobbing Molotov cocktails and rocks at Israeli police forces next to the Lions Gate, a main access point to the Mount.
Israeli police deployed rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the crowds.
It's a full blown clash just as it looked like ending peacefully after someone threw bottle. Crowd tried to stop them pic.twitter.com/t0jMvdn6Sp
— Kaamil Ahmed (@KaamilAhmed) July 18, 2017
The Muslim worshipers are purportedly protesting the Israeli government’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and a site holy to Islam.
Protest leaders, including top Palestinian officials, claim the metal detectors are part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship at the Temple Mount.
The activists and Palestinian officials seemingly failed to note that Israel’s new security measures were put into place in direct response to the murderous Palestinian terrorist attack at the Mount last Friday in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site. The metal detectors will protect all visitors to the Mount, including Muslim worshipers.
The activists also ignore that metal detectors have been in place for years for Jewish and Christian worshipers accessing the Western Wall.
The charge that Israel is hampering Muslim access to the Temple Mount is contradicted by facts on the ground. Israel allows the Jordanian-controlled Waqf to serve as custodians of the Temple Mount and grants Muslim worshippers access to the Mount twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week with the exception of rare instances of security threats.
Jewish and Christian visitors, however, are restricted by the Waqf from visiting the Mount except on small tours for about two hours per day. The Waqf does not allow non-Muslims to pray on the Mount or bring holy objects to the site; whereas Muslim prayer is unrestricted. Waqf representatives closely monitor non-Muslim visitors to the site and are known to boot those engaging in prayer.
The Times of Israel reported on tonight’s clashes:
According to police, after evening prayers at a gate outside the Temple Mount, a group of Muslim worshipers “started throwing rocks and bottles at the officers” who were stationed in the Old City.
… The Red Crescent said 34 people were injured, including 14 people needing hospitalization. One person had a serious chest injury, a spokesperson said. Police said two officers were lightly injured in the fighting.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
The clashes started after the evening prayer. It is still unclear what sparked the violence.
One of those reported injured is Sheikh Akram a-Sabri, former Mufti of Jerusalem and al-Aksa’s preacher.
Tonight’s violent riots may foreshadow a larger orchestrated effort tomorrow. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party called for a “Day of Rage” tomorrow, using the metal detectors to incite against Israel. Yesterday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported the official Fatah Facebook page posted Abbas’s 2014 call for a “religious war” at the Al Aqsa Mosque.
The Palestinians have a history of using the Temple Mount to fuel violence against Israel. Riots broke out on the Mount in October 1990, ushering in the First Intifada, and the Second Intifada kicked off in September 2000 after the Palestinians used a visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon as a pretense to launch an orchestrated terrorist campaign after bolting U.S.-brokered talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state.
Two Israeli Border Police Officers were murdered and a third was wounded on Friday when three Palestinian terrorists opened fire at security forces near an entrance to the Temple Mount at the Lions Gate and then fled into the Mount complex. The Palestinian assailants, reportedly carrying two rifles and a pistol, were pursued by Israeli forces and were shot and killed as they tried to escape toward the mosques on the Mount.
Friday’s attack occurred less than two weeks after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed an anti-Israel resolution declaring Jerusalem’s Old City and its ancient walls to be “occupied” sites and listed the areas as Palestinian heritage sites in “danger.”
And the terrorist attack took place one week after UNESCO passed another anti-Israel resolution regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – claiming the tomb is a “Palestinian” world heritage site in danger.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.