Clashes as Temple Mount/Al Aqsa Reopened to Non-Muslims
Clashes broke out on the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on Thursday morning after the site holy to both Muslims and Jews reopened to non-Muslim visitors. The site has been closed to non-visitors since April 22. It is closed every year for the last week or so of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Prior to the closure the location was the site of violence and clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli security forces.
It is the holiest site in the world for Jews and the third holiest site for Muslims.
Groups of Jewish pilgrims began lining up early on Thursday morning, marked as Israel’s Independence Day, for the chance to ascend to the site. Palestinians at the site chanted in Arabic at the visitors: “God is great” and “with spirit, with blood, we’ll redeem Al-Aqsa!”
Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, warned against opening the site to Jewish vistors. “The Zionist occupation authorities’ allowing flocks of settlers to storm the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday is playing with fire and drags the region into an escalation for which the occupation will bear full responsibility,” Hamas said Wednesday in a statement.