Entrances to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the site revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims, were closed Tuesday after a firebomb was thrown at an Israeli police station there.
The Jerusalem Post reported three arrests as dozens of Palestinians engaged in violent protests.
See the aftermath:
اندلاع حريق داخل مركز شرطة الاحتلال بالمسجد الأقصى، قبل قليل. pic.twitter.com/wmR1mtMvcN
— شبكة قدس الإخبارية (@qudsn) March 12, 2019
The violence developed about 2 p.m. when a firebomb was aimed at a police post.
The report said some Palestinians claimed the fire was started by children who were playing with fireworks.
Christians and Jews revere the site as the home to the last Jewish Temple, while Muslims believe it is the site of the “distant mosque” Muhammad claimed to have visited in his mystical “night journey.”
“This was not the first attack of its kind against the police post, which Palestinians see as a symbol of Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount,” the Post reported. “In 1990, Palestinian rioters tried to attack a number of policemen who had barricaded themselves inside the post. The policemen managed to flee the scene and the rioters torched the post and damaged police equipment. In 2014, Palestinian rioters again torched the post after policemen who were stationed there were ordered by their commanders to leave out of fear for their lives.”
The Palestinian Authority called on the international community to intervene, because it considered actions on the Temple Mount as “Israeli assaults on Al-Aqsa Mosque,” which is located there.
Yusef al-Mahmoud, spokesman for the PA government, claimed that Israel was seeking “to carry out its schemes to control Al-Aqsa Mosque and obliterate the Arab features of Jerusalem,” the Post reported.
The report explained there have been growing tensions at the site, because Israel and Jordan, which runs the Waqf Department, still were in disagreement over the issue of the Golden Gate.
“The crisis erupted when Palestinians reopened the contested site last month. The site was closed by court order 16 years ago because of illegal construction and activity carried out there by the Islamic Movement in Israel and Hamas-affiliated activists,” the report said.
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court had ordered the site closed again, but Waqf officials refused to acknowledge the order.
Israel National News reported the police station was damaged and an officer sustained a slight injury.
During subsequent searches, police said they found additional containers with flammable materials, as well as Molotov cocktails.