As tensions remained high in Yerushalayim overnight Monday, with police continuing to require Muslims entering Har HaBayis to pass through metal detectors and body scanners, the Fatah terror group declared Wednesday a “day of rage,” with protests, strikes and marches against the Israeli decision.
In addition, speeches and sermons in Friday prayers will be dedicated to “the occupation of Al Aqsa,” and the need for Muslim action to free the mosques on Har HaBayis from Israeli control.
Palestinian Authority security officials quoted by Yediot Acharonot said that a strong undercurrent of tension has been running through the PA since Israeli police set up the security checks for all those entering Har HaBayis last weekend, after police found weapons hidden in the mosques there after the terror attack in which two Israeli police officers were murdered. The official said that it was easy to imagine scenarios in which terror groups took advantage of the tension to recruit terrorists to carry out suicide missions against Israelis.
Israeli police, meanwhile, were evaluating the effectiveness of the security system in preparation for Friday prayers, when tens of thousands of Muslims are expected to descend on Har HaBayis, either to pray or to protest. Police are concerned that the sheer numbers of people forced to wait on line in the heat will set off riots, and are considering alternative security monitoring systems to check visitors, Israel Radio said.
The leadership of the Waqf continued to boycott the security system. Muslim religious leaders ruled Monday that prayers of those who passed through a body scanner were “disqualified.”
Riots took place in both the Silwan and Issawiye areas of Yerushalayim, with rioters throwing firebombs and rocks at Israeli security personnel and passing vehicles. One police officer was lightly injured in those riots. Police made numerous arrests, including one of an Arab who was found to be carrying a knife.
A police spokesperson said Monday night that police “will continue on Har HaBayis their increased presence of recent days. We foresaw the tension and are prepared to deal with it.”