113 reportedly injured as thousands return to pray at Temple Mount
Thousands of Muslims return to pray at Temple Mt.; 113 reportedly injured after almost immediate clashes between worshippers and security forces; return follows protests and fatal terrorist attack over decision to add measures at Temple Mt.
Following Israel's dismantling all the security measures at the entrance to the Temple Mount, and victory celebrations that lasted all Thursday afternoon, thousands entered the site.
The development comes after two weeks of demonstrations, riots and a fatal terrorist attack in the settlement of Halamish, all linked to Israel's decision to set up added security measures at the Temple Mount's gates, following a terrorist attack at the site that took the lives of two police officers.
Shortly after returning to Temple Mount, Israeli security forces and Muslim worshippers clashed inside the compound. Security forces used stun grenades next to the Dome of the Rock to disperse rioters, as the Red Crescent reported that 113 people were injured.
There had been a dispute between the masses whether to enter or not. "The Mufti does not decide, we will decide," they shouted to worshipers who refused to enter, protesting that they claimed to still not be able to enter the compound freely from the Lions' Gate. They also called out, "Whoever enters a traitor." A few minutes later they agreed to enter the prayer hall according to the Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein.
Hundreds gathered in the afternoon near the Lions' Gate entrance to the Temple Mount, and celebrated the removal of the security measures and the renewed entrance to the holy site. Many distributed sweets and bottles of drink and shouted cheers.
The police dismantled the cameras' bridges and fences at the entrances to the Temple Mount where the magnometers were, which were also dismantled earlier this week. The camera bridge was dismantled after the cameras were removed from it on Tuesday following the decision of the political-security cabinet.
As a result, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, announced that Muslims could pray again at the Temple Mount compound, and the Jordanian security forces the Waqf called on the masses to arrive at 16:00. "The situation has returned to what it was," said the Mufti. "We return to pray in al-Aqsa. "
Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh responded to the latest developments on the Temple Mount: "Tonight there was no drama, despite what was portrayed in the media. The Security Cabinet's decision was to remove the metal detectors and cameras, and the Israel Police acted accordingly. These are facts."
The commissioner refused to answer who was the first person to suggest placing metal detectors at the entrances to the compound. "I will not answer this question, though it ould have surprised many people. I do not usually leak (information—ed) from the (Security) Cabinet, so I will not say who held what position."