Israeli police and Palestinian rioters clashed on the Temple Mount on Sunday, ahead of the Jewish holiday. Masked Arabs threw rocks, firecrackers, and firebombs at Police, who responded with riot dispersal measures and succeeded in closing the mosque doors, separating the Arab rioters from the Jews who came to the site. Remarkably, no injuries were reported.
Police had received prior intelligence that alerted them to Arab plans to riot. Stockpiles of rocks, firecrackers, and a pre-constructed barricade were found at the scene.
“Masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police,” a police statement said. “Suspicious pipes that could be filled with homemade explosives were also found at the entry to the mosque.”
Police later verified that the objects were indeed pipe bombs. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the discovery of pipe bombs at the al-Aqsa mosque “forces us to reconsider the arrangements for the Temple Mount.”
מטעני הצינור שנתפסו בכניסה למסגד בהר הבית! מחייב את כולנו לחשוב מחדש על ההסדרים בהר. pic.twitter.com/Un5zVgBoAe
— גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) September 13, 2015
“It cannot be that Muslim rioters who have camped overnight on the Mount, turn this holy place into a vehicle for a battle which includes rock-throwing, shooting firecrackers at security forces and even bringing explosives on the Mount.”
“These are most serious actions which flagrantly violate the status quo, and we will not overlook them in silence,” Erdan continued.
“As Minister of Public Security, I will continue to act to regulate in any way the issue of visits to the Temple Mount – and no riot, no matter how severe, will prevent anyone who wants to ascend the Temple Mount from doing so.”
Minister Erdan also praised the police for their fine work in allowing Jews to visit the site despite the rioters.
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli Police “attack”. His office issued a statement:
“The presidency strongly condemns the attack by the occupier’s military and police against the Al-Aqsa mosque and the aggression against the faithful who were there”.