Midday Muslim prayers services today ended peacefully at the Temple Mount holy site and the surrounding area, following 13 consecutive days of tensions in the Old City of Jerusalem and across the West Bank which has left three Israelis and at least six Palestinians dead.
Tensions persisted elsewhere across East Jerusalem and the West Bank however, even as Muslim leaders ended their protest over Israeli security measures. Israeli police began removing metal detectors and other new security measures from the holy site’s entrances on Wednesday.
The new security measures were installed after two Israeli police officers were killed in the area by Palestinian terrorists on 14th July.
Police barred men under the age of 50 from entering the Temple Mount for Friday prayers, and hundreds of Israeli police were deployed in and around Jerusalem’s Old City, and hundreds of Israeli police were deployed in and around Jerusalem’s Old City in anticipation of mass demonstrations. The site remained open to all women.
Police called on Muslim leaders and public figures to denounce incitement and violence and to act responsibly to calm the situation.
Firas Dibs, an official from the Waqf, the Jordanian religious body that administers the holy site, said tens of thousands attended Friday prayers on the Temple Mount. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed prayers ended without incident.
In the West Bank however, a Palestinian man was shot dead at the Gush Etzion junction after trying to attack soldiers with a knife.
Times of Israel reported that hundreds of mostly young Palestinian men gathered behind a police barricade in East Jerusalem in the afternoon, with the majority wearing hats that read “I am Muslim and I would bleed for Al-Aqsa”, while chanting “In blood we will redeem Al-Aqsa”.
Palestinian rioting was reported today in several locations in the West Bank, including in Bethlehem and Hebron.
Last Friday, after a day of violent protests by Palestinians, a 70-year-old Israeli father, and his children, aged 46 and 36, were stabbed to death in a terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish on Friday night. The 19-year-old terrorist broke into their home and began stabbing the family as they were celebrating the birth of a new grandchild over Shabbat dinner.