Hamas brands clash at Temple Mount a ‘Zionist crime’ 27Sep09 September 28, 2009

by Jonathan Lis  _  Haaretz  27 September 2009

clashes at al aqsa

The Islamist group Hamas branded a clash on Sunday between Israeli police and Palestinians at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a “Zionist crime” and a provocation.

At least 24 people were wounded in the incident, which occurred a few hours before the start of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

“The Israeli occupation is not interested in calm,” the Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson, as saying. The news agency said Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, called for Palestinians to rise up against Israel to retaliate for the incident.

Ma’an also quoted other Islamists in Gaza as calling for an uprising and condemning Israel.

“The Israeli assault is part of a central Israeli decision to escalate in the whole region,” Islamic Jihad leader Khalid Al-Batsh was quoted as saying. “This escalation might reach neighboring Arab countries.”

The incident took place during a visit by a Jewish group to the site in Jerusalem’s Old City. Deadly violence has erupted there several times in the past.

Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said around 150 Palestinians threw stones at the Jews visiting the site, which is open to non-Muslims at certain hours.

Jews regularly visit the compound and it was not immediately clear what sparked the violence.

Police dispersed the rioters using stun grenades. Nine policemen were lightly wounded by stone-throwing Palestinians; 15 Palestinian youths were also wounded in the clash. Sunday’s incident ended without serious injuries.

Police arrested eight Palestinian youths suspected of trying to attack them.

Rabah Bkirat, an official with the Muslim religious body in charge of managing the site, said some of the protesters had come because of rumors of an invasion by Jewish settlers. When a group of some 15 Jews entered the grounds accompanied by police, the protesters began chanting slogans and only threw stones after police used force, he said.

Despite the clashes, Jewish worshippers continued to pray at the Western Wall – situated below the Temple Mount – in the lead-up to Yom Kippur.

On Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces said it would place the West Bank under general closure until the end of Yom Kippur due to security concerns.

LINK: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1117348.html

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