Israeli authorities to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Firebomb Attack at Temple Mount Incites Riot

Israeli authorities to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

There were no injuries reported from the firebombing, but police quickly deployed across the hilltop compound, scuffling with Palestinians in the area as they searched for the assailants.

On Tuesday, an incendiary device set alight an Israeli police position near the Dome of the Rock shrine inside the compound. We are against all acts of violence and we condemn Israel's actions in the Al-Aqsa Mosque today.

A Border Police officer blocks Grand Mufti Muhammad Ahmad Hussein (R) from entering the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on March 12, 2019, after it was closed when a firebomb was thrown at police officers.

Dozens of Palestinians gathered at Bab al-Asbat, one of the main gates to Al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam, and held one of the five daily prayers there as Israeli police stood watching while keeping the gates to the Muslim holy compound closed.

Firas Dibs, spokesman for the Waqf, the Jordanian-appointed Islamic body that administers the site, said police had cleared almost all worshippers from the compound.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded that there would be "grave repercussions" for what he called a "dangerous Israeli escalation" of violence.

The Waqf, a Jordanian-appointed body that oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has staged periodic prayer-protests since late February to call for the reopening of the building.

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The clashes came amid a dispute between Israel and Muslim worshipers over the status of the Bab al-Rahma ("Gate of Mercy") structure within the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, which was closed off by Israel in 2003 over alleged ties between the Islamic society operating there and the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas.

Demonstrations have devolved into standoffs with police in recent weeks.

"We call on the worldwide community to intervene urgently in order to prevent the escalation ... we are holding urgent talks with all relevant parties, particularly with Jordan, in order to put pressure on Israeli government to put a stop to this unsafe escalation", the statement issued by Abbas's office said. The actual Gate of Mercy, which is a fortified gateway in the retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount, has been bricked up for almost 500 years.

Mr Abbas's office said the Palestinians are also in touch with various sides including Jordan.

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

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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