Hours before Rosh Hashanah started in Israel, hundreds of Muslim worshippers threw rocks at police officers and Jewish visitors at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Wednesday morning, according to Israel Hayom. A large police force was summoned to the scene to calm the situation, and no injuries or damage were reported.The officers managed to subdue the rioters, some of whom were wearing face masks. Many fled into nearby mosques when the police arrived. A large police presence remained on site, and entry to the Temple Mount was not restricted.
Police sources said that they were not surprised by the violence and that police had advance knowledge of plans to riot on the Temple Mount. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said he planned to closely monitor the deployment of police units in the area over the course of the holiday.
The rock-throwing incident occurred one day after the head the northern chapter of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, was arrested on his way to a press conference in eastern Jerusalem. Police suspect that Salah meant to incite his followers to instigate violent clashes on the Temple Mount during the Jewish holiday.
Salah’s arrest was apparently in response to a speech the sheikh gave at Kafr Qara near Haifa. The outspoken cleric had accused Israel of being behind the recent political crisis in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. He also said the Jerusalem police force planned to torch the Temple Mount during the High Holy Days.