3 arrested as clashes over Temple Mount continue in Jerusalem

Terrorist entering Temple Mount

Palestinian Muslim worshippers prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque pray outside Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, July 14, 2017.

Jews revere the 37-acre raised platform as the site of their biblical temples. Such prayers, with the faithful kneeling in orderly lines on the pavement, have been the main form of protest this week, signaling their refusal to pass through the metal detectors, but protesters have also scuffled with police. The Temple Mount had not been closed by the Israelis since 1969.

The compound was largely empty on Monday apart from tourists and Jewish visitors, with Muslims again praying and protesting outside the site instead of entering through the metal detectors. Israeli Jews are allowed to visit the site but not to pray there.

Tuesday night's clashes marked the third consecutive day that rioters engaged in violent tactics, with the agitators reportedly lobbing Molotov cocktails and rocks at Israeli police forces next to the Lions Gate, a main access point to the Mount. They argue that abiding by the new security measures will reinforce Israel's questioned sovereignty claim over the area.

The protests follow clashes between Israeli forces and protesters on Tuesday after evening prayers in the occupied city.

Though the Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, neither Jews nor Christians are permitted to pray there, a privilege reserved for Muslims only.

Jordan and the Waqf have said that after 1967, the Waqf remained in charge of who can enter the compound.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is in China, is returning to the West Bank to deal with the crisis, his office said in a statement.

Police used riot dispersal equipment including rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators and said they would continue to "respond to incidents if necessary". Jordan's stance is that anything installed at the site must be approved by the Waqf, or Muslim administration, and can not change the status quo, said the official. Meanwhile, worshippers have lined up in the streets, dozens at a time, to perform prayers in the streets.

"Preserving security and stability in holy places is a Jordanian objective, but this can not be achieved by changing the historic status quo but through respecting it", said Safadi. One tried to stab a police officer, he said.

"Jerusalem will never be on the negotiating table", she said in a statement.

The report further said Israeli forces conducted inspections inside the mosque, inflicting damage on the place.

Safadi called for "fully and immediately reopening the holy site to worshippers without hindrances", the agency said.

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