Police clash with Muslim worshipers on Temple Mount
Rioters throw stones and launch fireworks at Israeli police at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, leading police to clear the holy site and briefly close its gates; in the West Bank, some 150 Palestinians hurl rocks and stones at Israeli security forces in Kobar, home of terrorist Mohammad Tareq Yousef, who murdered 31-year-old Israeli Yotam Ovadia.
Masked youth hurled stones and launching fireworks directly at Israeli forces outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after midday prayers on Friday, leading police to storm into the holy site, clear it and close its gates for a few hours.
"Police entered the Temple Mount compound and began evacuating the site. During dispersal of the rioters police arrested a number of suspects," the Israel Police said in a statement.
Four police officer were wounded in the clashes and received treatment. Muslim authorities said dozens of people were hurt by Israeli police stun grenades.
A number of rioters fled into the Al-Aqsa mosque inside the compound, with police ordered to storm into the mosque.
Sixteen suspects were detained for questioning after being removed from the mosque.
There was no immediate word of any violence in the mosque, whose older male worshippers said they had been allowed to exit after being searched. Mosque prayers were later resumed.
A total of 24 suspects were arrested in police operations on the Temple Mount. Police said additional arrests can be expected.
"Police plans to take a strong and uncompromising hand against the suspects arrested and others who were involved," the police said.
The Waqf, the religious authority that runs the mosque, confirmed the gates were closed after unrest broke out. The holy site has since been reopened.
The Waqf published videos showing police firing tear gas at Palestinians inside the mosque compound, which also includes the Dome of the Rock.
The brief closure of the Temple Mount caused outrage among Palestinians.
Former grand mufti of Jerusalem and one of the heads of the Waqf, Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, claimed this was an Israeli attempt to take revenge after the Palestinian victory at the end of the metal detectors crisis last year.
The Palestinian Authority's Foreign Ministry condemned the holy site's closure.
"The continued Israeli attacks against occupied Jerusalem will increase tensions and will drag the region into a religious war that we have long warned against," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's office said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Hamas terror group called on Muslims to defend the al-Aqsa mosque, as well as called on "the residents in Jerusalem and the West Bank to rise against Israel with all of their might."
Friday's riots and the closure of the Temple Mount "would not have happened if it hadn't been for the silence of the international community, the regional community and the decisions of the United States that supports Israel," Hamas accused in a statement.
Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher in the left-wing NGO Ir Amim, said the clashes on the Temple Mount "take place after three weeks during which members of Knesset have broken the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, ministers called for the construction of the Temple, and the police failed to prevent Temple activists from holding activities near the entrances to the Temple Mount being used by Muslims."
"The quiet on the Temple Mount is being maintained thanks to the Waqf, among other things, who prevents Palestinian youths from rioting. But when Israel fails to do its part, the Waqf fails to do his," Tatarsky added.
Assam Abbasi, an educator from east Jerusalem who prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque every Friday, saw a different reason for the rioting, "as a reminder that a year ago police would not allow us to enter al-Aqsa when they put the metal detectors. Over the past year there was quiet, but the youths wanted to remind everyone of the incident."
Rioting in terrorist's village
In the West Bank, Palestinians violently clashed with Israeli security forces in the village of Kobar, where the terrorist who carried out the deadly stabbing in Adam came from.
Some 150 Palestinians hurled rocks and stones at security forces, who responded with crowd dispersal measures and arrested four rioters.
Mohammad Tareq Yousef, 17, stabbed three Israelis in the settlement of Adam on Thursday evening. One of his victims, 31-year-old father-of-two Yotam Ovadia was fatally wounded. The other two victims were in moderate and light condition. Yousef was shot dead by his third victim.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot toured the scene of the attack on Friday, accompanied by GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nadav Padan, Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig. Gen. Era Niv and the Binyamin Brigade Commander Col. Sharon Asman.
Security forces carried out extensive operations overnight Thursday in Kobar. His family were investigated and their entry permits into were confiscated. The family house was also mapped ahead of a planned demolition. In addition, four Palestinians were arrested and taken in for questioning.
However, the freedom of movement for Palestinians will be maintained in other parts of the West Bank as part of Israel's policy of separating terrorists from the general population and allowing Palestinians to continue their normal daily lives. This policy has aided in maintaining the relative quiet in the area over the past year.
In addition to the checkpoints around Kobar, hundreds of reinforcement troops were deployed to the Ramallah area, where the attack took place, as well as under areas in the West Bank—in Etzion, Hebron and the Samaria.
Additional reinforcements were deployed in friction points, main junctions and roads under threat across the West Bank on Friday, with army presence increased inside the settlements as well to thwart any more attacks.
These measures are expected to remain in place at least until Sunday amid concerns in the IDF that the attack will re-spark violence in the West Bank after months of relative quiet.
Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy, Yishai Porat, Elisha Ben Kimon, Hassan Shaalan, Reuters and AFP contributed to this report.