Hundreds Riot at Har Habayis, Police Respond with Stun Grenades

YERUSHALAYIM -
Masked Hamas terrorists take part in a military show against Israel’s newly-installed security measures at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Tensions at Har Habayis turned to violence again on Thursday night as hundreds of Muslim rioters clashed with police, according to media reports.

Demonstrators at Lion’s Gate hurled bottles and rocks at policemen who responded with stun grenades and rubber bullets. Reports varied, but as many as 42 were injured, with 2 said to be in serious condition, the rest sustaining minor injuries.

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said 5 officers were hurt.

The incident occurred while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in consultation with the Security Cabinet, which he convened upon his return to Israel from Budapest. The question of whether to remove the metal detectors which have so angered Muslims, and compromise measures such as handheld detectors, were urgently on the agenda.

An announcement from the government on the matter was expected sometime Thursday night.

Netanyahu’s top security advisors have reportedly been divided on what to do. According to Haaretz, they are now urging Netanyahu to find a solution that would allow Israel to extricate itself “with dignity” from a situation that could spiral into much more serious violence and damage relations with Jordan, the official custodian of the Al-Aksa Mosque, as well.

Also on Thursday night, dozens of Palestinians rioted in east Yerushalayim, throwing rocks and bottles at police, who dispersed them with riot equipment. There were no injuries reported there.

Meanwhile, in a social media video, Hamas called for protest marches during a “day of rage” on Friday at flashpoints in Yehudah and Shomron and on the Gaza border.