At least 56 people were injured in the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday, shortly after Muslim worshippers returned to the Temple Mount following 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.
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.
Police said “worshipers” began hurling rocks at security forces upon their reentry to the compound. Some stones fell at the Western Wall plaza below, causing no injuries, a police spokesperson said. The police responded to the stone-throwing with riot dispersal methods and vowed to forcefully combat any violence.