The day dubbed "the day of rage" by Hamas and extremist Islamic groups opened with riots – both in the holy city and on the way to it. Hundreds of Arabs burned tires and hurled stones at Border Guard officers at several locations throughout the city Tuesday morning. At least three officers and 11 rioters were lightly injured, and eight were detained. Meanwhile, in the North, a bus full of Muslim passengers on their way to al-Aqsa Mosque was stopped and turned back. Police said the bus was inspected following tip-offs of possible plans to riot in Jerusalem.
Arab MKs and members of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee also arrived at the al-Aqsa Mosque Tuesday morning. "The Netanyahu government is dangerous and irresponsible, and is leading the region to a third intifada," said MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List – Ta'al).MK Ahmad Tibi told Ynet he was inside the mosque: "There is a renewed occupation of east Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque, gunshots can be heard in every direction."
Dozens of masked rioters hurled stones at Border Guard officers near the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, and set fire to tires. The force dispersed the rioters using stun grenades. Two policemen were lightly injured and seven Palestinians were arrested.
In another incident, at the northern entrance to the Isawiya neighborhood in Jerusalem, masked protesters also burned tires and hurled stones at Border Guard officers. The rioters were calmed and dispersed by the village's elders. Security forces also dispersed masked rioters hurling stones near the Temple Mount's Majlis Gate.
Riots in Shuafat Tuesday morning (Photo: AFP)
In Abu Dis, some 50 Palestinians hurled stones at security forces. Police and Border Guard officers responded with teargas and stun grenades. One of the rioters was detained and taken in for questioning. Riots were also noted at the Qalandiya checkpoint.
Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian youths threw stones in Maale Mota Gur in the Old City and near the wholesale market. Similar riots ensued in Wadi Joz and Silwan. In total, thousands of police officer were deployed throughout the city.
Buses to capital inspected
Meanwhile, at the Achihod junction in the western Galilee, police stopped a bus containing Arab Muslims who were making their way from Majdal Krum in the north, to Jerusalem. The Bus driver was forced to turn back. During an inspection of the bus, a 38-year-old passenger allegedly assaulted a Traffic Police officer and was detained.
Heavy traffic jams were felt on Highway 6 due to a police checkpoint set up to inspect buses traveling to al-Aqsa. Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka, who was also on his way to Jerusalem in his private vehicle, told Ynet, "I suggest they stop with these checkpoints, which only create provocations."
Police said that since Tuesday was considered a very sensitive day, and in light of information obtained on possible riots in Jerusalem by civilians arriving in buses, every bus on its way to the capital will be inspected. Police added that the decision was backed and approved by the attorney general.
Sources from the Islamic Movement's northern branch said police stopped two buses. The movement's spokesman, Attorney Zahi Nujeidat, told Ynet, "Those who are preventing worshippers from traveling to al-Aqsa are the ones who are fermenting the situation. It is natural that a Muslim would visit and pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque. Those that are preventing us from getting there will ultimately carry the blame for any possible scenario."
On Monday, during the inauguration of the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City, more than 3,000 police and border guards gathered in the Temple Mount area. The event passed in tense calm.
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, Ahiya Raved, Shmulik Grossman and Ali Waked contributed to this report