The Temple Mount was closed off on Tuesday after several people reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail firebomb into one of the police stations at the holy site.
According to the Jerusalem Post, a riot broke out at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after “Israel accused the Palestinian Authority of inciting a religious war” there.
The Temple Mount has long been a site of conflict for Israelis and Palestinians as it is of religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
In a statement on Tuesday, Israel’s Public Safety Minister, Gilad Erdan said, “Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] continued to lie and incite violence together with the terror organizations of Murabitoun and Hamas, in an attempt to ignite a fire and cause a religious war on the Temple Mount.”
He continued, “We will not allow this to happen. We will continue to act to restore calm on the [Temple Mount]. Police will respond with strength and determination to any act of violence or attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.”
While Israeli authorities claim that the flames were ignited by a “firebomb” several eyewitnesses claimed that the fire was started by young kids who were playing with fireworks.
According to reports, two adolescents were initially arrested in connection with the attack.
After the riot broke out, however, three more Palestinians were arrested. Palestinian activist groups then began to encourage other Palestinians to swarm the al-Aqsa Mosque to “defend it against the assault by police and Jewish extremists.” This call, along with the chaos of the fire and the riot, forced police to have to close down the al-Aqsa compound.
The Jerusalem Post reports that one police officer sustained injuries from smoke inhalation in the attack and the compound is expected to reopen on Wednesday.
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