Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Israeli forces seal off Al-Aqsa gates, assault worshipers

Israeli forces seal off Al-Aqsa gates, assault worshipers

Police later announced that the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims the Noble Sanctuary, would reopen to worshippers and visitors Wednesday morning.

Last week, members of the Israeli police entered the Bab al-Rahmeh prayer area with their boots on, an act considered by Palestinians as a desecration, leading to protests.

After the incident, Israeli police sealed off entrances to the compound.

Residents said police were also restricting Palestinian access to Jerusalem's Old City, where the site is located.

He added that he was in touch with Jordanian Islamic Waqf in charge of administering the holy site "to pressure the occupation's government" to put an end to the escalation.

Dozens of police flooded the Temple Mount after the attack and clashed with Muslim worshippers.

Palestinian political groups said escalating tensions around Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, is a continuation of arbitrary policies of Israel against Palestinians. "Israel must reopen the mosque immediately".

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned in an official statement what he described as "Israeli escalation" following the clashes, and warned of "grave consequences".

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The commander of the Jerusalem district, Major General Doron Yedid, arrived at the scene shortly after and ordered for the compound to remain closed in order to inspect the area for other explosive devices that might be left behind by the attackers.

The clashes came amid a dispute between Israel and Muslim worshipers over the status of the Bab al-Rahma ("Gate of Mercy") structure within the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, which was closed off by Israel in 2003 over alleged ties between the Islamic society operating there and the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas.

Police officers detain a Palestinian man outside the Old City of Jerusalem on March 12, 2019.

Demonstrations have devolved into stand-offs with police in recent weeks. He also called on the global community to join the fight against Israeli authorities.

High-level Israeli and Jordanian officials have been holding talks in the hope of defusing the situation.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu joined in the chorus of condemnation, calling on "the whole world to react to Israel's brazen attacks on our sacred lands" in response to the decision to close off the Temple Mount, and added that the USA was supporting Jerusalem's "increasing aggression".

Videos circulated on social media show Israeli forces arresting several protesters and violently attacking women.

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