Hundreds of Muslims staged a riot on the Temple Mount early this morning following weekly Islamic prayers.
The violence erupted after the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza issued a call earlier this week for Muslim Palestinians to flood the ancient holy site where both Biblical temples once stood. According to Israeli police, the clashes broke out soon after protesters started shouting “nationalistic chants” at security personnel permanently stationed at the compound. Reuters captured footage of a mob standing on the steps leading to the al Aqsa Mosque, which they chanted would be “liberated” with their “spirit and blood.”
The entire compound housing the mosque is known as Haram esh-Sharif in Arabic and remains under the administration of a Waqf Muslim religious council. Considered as Islam’s third holiest site, it was constructed in the year 705 on top of the Temple Mount revered by both Jews and Christians – who are forbidden to pray there.
Police implemented crowd dispersal measures to reinstate order, and six worshippers were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace. Background checks identified the same six suspects as having previously disrupted visits by non-Muslims to the ancient site.
Hamas released a statement praising today’s violent riots, for what it said was “a sign of hope that Palestine will be liberated, and Palestinians will be victorious at the end.” The Islamist terror group expanded its call for the Arab and Muslim world to confront what it claimed to be “Israeli attempts to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem and other holy sites” in the city.