The Jerusalem Magistrates Court on Wednesday issued a restraining order against Islamic leader Sheik Raad Salah on Wednesday after he and six accomplices attempted to forcibly enter the dig site at the Mugrabi Gate outside the Temple Mount earlier in the day.
Salah, who is the head of the northern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel, is now forbidden to be within 150 meters (500 feet) of the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem.
Salah at the Magistrates Court on Wednesday (Photo: Yoav Galai)
Police forces continue to secure the area in reinforced numbers and security forces are expected to deploy in record numbers this Friday during Muslim prayer-time.
Salah and his accomplices are under suspicion of assaulting police officers who were securing the reinforcement works at the Mugrabi Gate, intended to replace the original pathway which collapsed.
As Salah was leaving the court hearing, several right-wing extremists who were waiting for him outside yelled "terrorist, the Temple Mount is ours" at him.
Livni: 'Irresponsible people inciting religious sentiments'
Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni responded on Wednesday to the criticism against Israel, saying "the Temple Mount is the most sacred place for the Jewish people. The State of Israel would never harm freedom of religion to people of all faiths in Jerusalem.
Right-wing activists wait for Salah outside the court (Photo: Yoav Galai)
"There are irresponsible people, who know perfectly well that there is no damage being done to any holy site, who are abusing the Israeli democracy to incite religious sentiments for political gains," added Livni.
Criticism in the Muslim world spread to Teheran on Wednesday, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemning the Mugrabi works and calling on Islamic nations to retaliate against Israel so that it will "regret" the works.
"Silence is not an option given these actions, the Muslim world must respond," said Khamenei during a
meeting with Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, leader of the Islamic Jihad organization. 206 members of the Iranian parliament signed a written condemnation of the works.
Following calls by Islamic leaders earlier in the week urging Muslims to come to the al-Aqsa mosque in droves, Jerusalem police have already upped the level of alertness in the Old City. Muslim leaders, including Salah, say the works "may damage the mosques on the Temple Mount."