Worshipers threw stones and glass bottles at Israeli policemen near the holy site, where tens of thousands are expected on Friday for a mass prayer that could turn violent.
Watch Thursday evening’s riots on Temple Mount.
Hundreds of Muslim worshipers threw stones and glass bottles at Israeli policemen near Temple Mount Thursday evening, in an ongoing protest against the placement of new security measures at the entrance to the holy site.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has arrived back in Israel from Hungary, is set to convene his cabinet at 10:30 p.m. Israel time to discuss possible solutions to the crisis. Netanyahu will need to make a decision on whether or not to remove the metal detectors on Temple Mount, which were placed there following a deadly terror attack last week.
Hamas and other leading Muslim figures have urged worshipers to come en masse to the Temple Mount on Friday.
“Israel’s steps on al-Aqsa will not go unanswered,” Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, said. “I call on all Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs to unite for al-Aqsa.”
The controversial metal detectors Photo credit: Channel 2 News
Unless the government comes up with a solution during the night, Friday’s afternoon prayer is at risk of turning into an extremely violent riot.
The IDF has decided to deploy five additional battalions at the site ahead of Friday’s mass prayer. At the end of a security assessment on Friday, it will be determined whether the forces will stay there over Shabbat as well.
Photo credit: GPO/Channel 2 News
Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy said the police are “fully capable” of dealing with Friday’s disturbances, adding there is “no reason to back down” by removing the metal detectors.
The international Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat has quoted Fatah’s former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Hatem Abdul Kader, as saying that the US was pressuring Israel to accept a compromise proposed by Jordan, according to which only suspicious individuals would be asked to go through security, while others would be allowed in freely. Israel has yet to confirm this report.