Police forced their way into the Temple Mount firing stun grenades at Muslim rioters who hurled stones at policemen in protest at renovation work near the complex shortly after Friday prayers ended.
Five Arab youths have been arrested outside the Old City, police said, for hurling stones and inciting for violence. A total of 17 arrests have been made. Over 3,000 policemen were deployed in Jerusalem as police raised the level of alert in the capital for fear of riots over digs near the Temple Mount.
A number of worshipers who barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa Mosque to avoid police arrest were convinced by a number of Arab MKs to vacate peacefully after police officer promised not to arrest them for throwing stones. Police said all forces will leave the Temple Mount complex once the group evacuates the mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.
The Waqf, the religious Muslim endowment that rules the Temple Mount, warned police against storming the mosque to nab the suspects. Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh demanded that Israel withdraw its "occupation forces" from the Temple Mount and "occupied Jerusalem," describing the police's confrontation with rioters as a deliberate act of aggression.
"This government is determined to play with fire that will spill blood ... It is the Palestinians' right to protest at the provocative works near the al-Aqsa Mosque," Barakeh added.
The operative word here is "near" and not "at" but obviously it is a distinction the Waqf’s has chosen to ignore. I would suggest what really gets under the Waqf’s skin is the fear as more and more excavation occurs, and older and older Jewish artifacts are found from antiquity, it firmly builds up a body of evidence which is almost impossible to repute the fact that the Jews have indeed come home. It changes the whole nuance of who is the occupier.