Dubai: Israeli police hurled stun grenades
to disperse dozens of protesters who threw stones outside the al-Aqsa
mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, after Friday prayers.
Two people were slightly injured and one person was arrested for
attempting to stab a policeman as he was being taken into custody,
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, according to
“Several hundred worshippers threw stones at police who were
stationed at the Mughrabi Gate, forcing them to go onto the plaza
and push them towards the middle,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri
Police and an AFP correspondent said the forces had used sound
bombs to disperse the crowds when people began throwing stones
after the end of the weekly Friday prayers.
The mosque is part of a site revered by Jews as well as Muslims,
and is a frequent source of friction between these religious
Deadly riots erupted at the same site after a visit by then
Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, at the outset of a several
year Palestinian uprising in 2000.
Tensions flared this week after police arrested Israeli
ultranationalists who tried to hold prayers at the compound, known
by Jews as the Temple Mount, as the site of two biblical temples.
That incident occurred during a seven-day Jewish holiday, a time
of pilgrimage to the adjacent Western Wall remnant of the second
temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, now a focal point of
On Thursday, police arrested nine people. Five were Arab Israelis,
who were accused of threatening Jewish and Christian visitors to
the site, and four Israeli Jews, three of them rightwing activists
who tried to force their way onto the plaza.
Another three Arabs and two Jews were arrested on Tuesday for
disturbing the peace and attacking police at the compound.
The compound where al-Aqsa stands, which Muslims call the Noble
Sanctuary, also houses the golden Dome of the Rock which marks the
spot from which the Prophet Mohammad made his night journey to
Israel captured east Jerusalem in a 1967 war including the walled
old city where the holy sites are located, and annexed it as part
of its capital in a move never recognized internationally.
Palestinians want that part of the city as capital of a state they
seek in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.