Roughly 100 people were injured in the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday, shortly after Muslim worshippers returned to the Temple Mountfollowing a nearly two-week ban by Muslim authorities on prayer at the holy site.
Riots broke out within minutes as thousands of Muslims flooded the Temple Mount, attacking police officers who responded with crowd-control measures including tear gas, shock grenades, and rubber bullets.
Rioters also hurled stones down from the Temple Mount on the Western Wall Plaza below. No injuries were reported in the plaza.
Earlier on Thursday, the Jordanian Waqf – the Muslim trust which manages the Temple Mount – and the Mufti of Jerusalem permitted renewed Muslim prayer on the Mount, after Israel removed security cameras and magnetometer metal detectors at the entrances to the holy site.
For nearly two weeks, Muslims have largely avoided the Mount, praying instead near entrances to the holy site in protest of new security measures following a terror attack by three Arab Israelis who shot and murdered two Israeli Border Police officers earlier this month. Muslim clerics had called upon worshippers to avoid the Temple Mount so long as the metal detectors remained in place.
Shortly before the rioting began, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich spoke at the Western Wall Plaza, to “dispel misinformation” regarding Israel’s sudden decision to remove the metal detectors and security cameras, claiming they were ineffective, “and served no purpose.”
The metal detectors had been installed after authorities revealed that employees of the Waqf had likely assisted the terrorists who carried out the June 14th attack by concealing their automatic firearms in a mosque on the Mount, after the guns were smuggled onto the holy site.
According to reports by the Red Crescent, at least 96 people have been treated both inside and around the Temple Mount complex since the riots broke out.