Hundreds of Palestinians arrested after violent 6 hour riot at the Temple Mount, US deeply concerned, Palestinians threaten escalation

Hundreds of Palestinians arrested after violent 6 hour riot at the Temple Mount on Friday morning.

Israel lifted the closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip at midnight on Saturday while continuing to deploy reinforcements to the Seam Line and acting against terrorism.

The decision was made following a situational assessment by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the deputy head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the head of operations of the Israel Police.

It was made following a recommendation by the defense establishment that no closure was necessary for the coming days. Nevertheless, the extensive deployment of reinforcements of troops and police officers will continue “according to the outline formulated by the IDF,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Gantz, thanking security forces for their activities throughout the weekend, said Israel will continue to act in a “targeted manner against terror and will stop anyone who seeks to violate public order.”

He also emphasized the importance of continuing to preserve freedom of worship.

The IDF imposed a general closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday. Israel is in the midst of a wave of terrorist attacks that have killed 14 citizens. Due to the tensions, the military reinforced its forces in the West Bank with thousands of troops from 16 combat battalions including special forces from commando units as part of its Operation Break the Wave.

Clashes broke out on Friday morning between Palestinians and Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount after a small group of protesters gathered stones and wood chunks to throw at the forces and at Jewish worshipers. Rioters also threw fireworks at security forces.

In a rare move, police entered al-Aqsa Mosque after Palestinians who had barricaded themselves inside following the morning prayer began throwing stones at officers. During the six hours of clashes, more than 470 rioters were arrested, including 65 minors.

The damage caused during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces earlier today, at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 15, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)
The damage caused during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces earlier today, at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 15, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

According to the Red Crescent, 150 Palestinians were injured along with eight Israel Police officers.

Some Palestinians waved Hamas flags and threw stones and fireworks toward Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. Palestinian media reported that police used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to break up the crowd that continued to protest after prayers ended.

“Rioters hoisted Hamas flags and threw stones at police,” Spokesman Eli Levy told Army Radio. “In order not to infringe on the freedom of worship, we waited until the end of prayers and then went in to disperse the rioters.” The Israel Police later added that it will not allow rioters to disturb the public right to prayer.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev said Israel has “said time and again that our goal is to allow freedom of worship to everyone on the Temple Mount. That has not changed.”

He commended police for acting bravely, enduring risks to their own safety by blocking rioters who gathered stones and metal-ware to hurt other worshipers.

“We have no interest in the Mount becoming a center of violence,” he said. “It will hurt everyone involved.”

The minister took to social media on Friday afternoon, stating that he had conducted a situational assessment with the Israel Police chief and Shin Bet regarding the incident on the Temple Mount earlier in the day.