An Israeli driver came close to being lynched in Jerusalem on Monday as tensions spiraled in the capital and Palestinian protesters and police repeatedly clashed on the Temple Mount.
The driver's car was battered by stones and rocks hurled by at least 10 Arab rioters near the Old City, wounding him and causing him to crash into the sidewalk and strike one of his assailants.
The rioters then tried to drag the driver from his car but he was rescued by a nearby police officer who repelled the attackers.
The driver sustained minor wounds and was evacuated along with his passenger to Hadassah University Hospital on Mount Scopus.
“[The rioters] threw stones all along the street,” the unnamed driver said.
"This is a road that was supposed to have been secured by the police. But it was full of young Arabs and there was no police presence whatsoever,” he said.
“Approaching the Lions Gate entrance to the Old City the car got stuck. I started driving back and forth, while the car's windows were shattering around us,” he said.
"I got stuck on the sidewalk and the car wouldn't move. The terrorists opened the doors and continued to attack us. The police were a few meters away and one of the officers came to help. He came alone and saved us."
Israel Police spokesman Eli Levy said: “Security cameras in the area caught more than 10 young men throwing stones at the vehicle.
The driver tried to get away, first reversing and then slowly moving forward. He swerved and ended up stuck on railings."
Levy said that the policeman fired his gun into the air as he rescued the occupants of the vehicle and that the incident was under investigation by local police.
Palestinians accused the motorist of a deliberate ramming. Police say the driver lost control of the car.
Earlier Monday morning, police forces deployed onto the Temple Mount after Palestinian rioters started throwing stones from the compound that overlooks the Western Wall. Palestinian medics said more than 180 people were injured, including 80 in serious condition.
Jerusalem has seen weeks of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces, with tensions escalating over the police decision to block the plaza outside the Damascus Gate during Ramadan; the potential eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and a spate of attacks on ultra-Orthodox Jews in the city by young Palestinians, which were then posted on the TikTok social media site.
Monday also marked Jerusalem Day, which celebrates Israel's capture of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. The day is marked by nationalist Israelis marching through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City waving Israeli flags.