Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Al-Aqsa on lockdown after incendiary device sets Israeli police position ablaze

Al-Aqsa on lockdown after incendiary device sets Israeli police position ablaze

There were no injuries reported from the attack.

Palestinian resistance group Hamas also decried the incidents and called on people to be insistent on their will to enter and leave the sacred mosque when they want.

The compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and a focus of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

Police were deployed around the Old City and East Jerusalem amid fears of a violent backlash, but there were no reports of disturbances.

The office of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement Tuesday afternoon condemning the "dangerous Israeli escalation in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque" - a reference to the entire span of the Temple Mount compound - and calling on the global community to urgently intervene to force Israel to reopen the site after an Arab terror attack earlier in the day on the Israel Police station in the compound.

The Waqf has staged periodic prayer-protests inside since late February to call for unrestricted access to the shuttered building.

Earlier, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the closure as a "dangerous Israeli escalation" and warned of "serious repercussions".

On Tuesday, Israeli forces evacuated and closed the compound after a firebomb was thrown at a security post.

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The spot, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and gold-topped Dome of the Rock, is a frequent flashpoint of violence.

The firebomb attack came as tensions over the holy site have ratcheted up in recent weeks over a long-sealed area on the compound near the Gate of Mercy.

In another statement hours after the conclusion of the search, Yadid announced that the Temple Mount would be opened Wednesday morning, some 24 hours after the incident, for worshipers and visitors. The area was closed in 2003 after allegations that the group overseeing the site was linked to terror activity.

Worshippers on the mount have responded to the closure by staging protests and clashing with police.

Videos circulated on social media show Israeli forces arresting several protesters and violently attacking women.

High-level Israeli and Jordanian officials have been holding talks in the hope of defusing the situation.

The 16-year Israeli closure order against Bab al-Rahma expired in August and the Waqf, the Islamic endowment body tasked with managing the Temple Mount compound, has argued in favor of reopening the building claiming the Islamic heritage association that had been operating there had always been disbanded and its members arrested. Police also restricted entrance to the Old City, home to Jerusalem's most important religious sites, allowing only residents to pass through certain entrances to the Muslim and Christian quarters.

Last month, the Waqf reopened the site and Palestinian worshipers began to use it as a mosque, despite Israeli attempts to keep the area sealed.

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