Jerusalem: A second consecutive day of violence at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site prompted a rare warning today from the king of Jordan, the custodian of the ancient sites, while an Israeli man died and several people were injured after attacks by rock-throwing Palestinians.
The holy site is a frequent flashpoint and its fate is a core issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jordan, which has a peace treaty with Israel, administers Muslim religious affairs at the site, sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The compound is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, site of the two biblical Jewish temples. Muslims revere it as the Noble Sanctuary, where they believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Earlier today, Israeli police and Palestinian stone-throwers clashed for the second day at the site. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said protesters threw rocks at officers who entered the area to ensure security. She said several masked Palestinians suspected of stone throwing were arrested. Police also arrested protesters who attacked a Jewish man, she said.
The director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Omar Kiswani, said dozens of people had stayed at the mosque overnight. He said police “stormed” the area on Monday morning, firing tear gas and stun grenades and making several arrests.
The 64-year-old Israeli, Alexander Levlovitz, died and two passengers were hurt after attackers pelted their car with rocks in Jerusalem. Samri said the man was injured as he was driving home from a meal marking the Jewish new year and later died of his injuries. She said the identity of the attackers was unknown but that they were likely from a nearby Arab neighborhood.
A young Israeli woman, Bosmat Haberfeld, said she was driving along the same route when her car was attacked.
“They tried to throw rocks in our direction but missed and hit the driver behind us who lost control of the vehicle and was killed,” she told Channel 10 TV.
“We stopped a few meters away on the side to call the police. My mother saw a masked man run toward the car with a slingshot, she screamed at me to duck. I ducked down and I heard the glass shatter and my mother and I were covered in broken glass.”
She said a resident from a nearby Arab neighborhood, driving a motorcycle, later stopped, checked to see if she and her mother were aright and gave them water.
Later today, another Israeli was injured by Palestinian rock throwers on the outskirts of the Old City in Jerusalem, police said.