After a few months of relative calm at the Temple Mount compound, violence was reported at the Jerusalem site Sunday morning, with dozens of Palestinians youths barricading themselves at the Al Aqsa Mosque and clashing with Israel Police forces sent to the scene.
During the altercation, police eventually stormed the mosque itself. An unknown number of officers were wounded, and three East Jerusalem residents were arrested for allegedly throwing rocks at Border Police.
Jerusalem police said they received information about Arab youths barricading themselves within the mosque overnight Saturday to confront police and prevent visits to the holy site on Tisha B’Av – the Jewish day of remembrance for the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
According to the police, the youths - a number of whom where masked - collected stones, wooden planks, fireworks and firebombs, and even set up makeshift barricades to prevent the mosque's doors from being shut and to allow them to confront the police.
According to the police, the clashes broke out after the Palestinians began throwing stones and shooting fireworks at Border Police and police forces that arrived at the mosque's entrance. Afterwards, the youths fled into the mosque, throwing stones and bricks at the forces from within, and firing fireworks at them. An unidentified liquid was also thrown at the police.
A number of police officers eventually entered the Al Aqsa Mosque, successfully dismantling the makeshift barricades blocking the entrance. Israel Police make an effort to rarely enter the flashpoint mosque. Afterwards, the Temple Mount compound was opened as scheduled to visitors.