Palestinians throw stones at police over bridge construction

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 |  by Staff Writer  

The Islamic Movement leaders called for their followers to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque in droves on Monday, a call which remained largely unanswered, in an attempt to halt construction of the bridge leading to the Mugrabi Gate.

The Mugrabi Gate is the only gate Jews are allowed to use to enter the Temple Mount, which is connected from the Jewish Quarter square to the Temple Mount.

Islamic leaders said that reinforcement of the bridge “may collapse the mosques on the Temple Mount.”

A spokesman for the Waqf, the Moslem clerical body which oversees matters pertaining to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, also said he believed the Mugrabi construction is unlikely to cause problems, though he refused to be quoted by name.

Police said the construction of the bridge was on hold for the time being, but the Israel Antiquities Authority denied anything being suspended and said that Monday's work continued uninterrupted.

The Mugrabi Gate is also used as an entrance for police in the event Moslems on the mount for Friday prayers throw stones at Jews praying at the Western Wall.

On Tuesday, Police arrested 11 Palestinian youths throwing stones at security forces who were protesting the continued construction of the bridge leading to the Temple Mount through the Mugrabi Gate.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on Moslems in Israel to rally at the site to prevent the works. Police forces are spread throughout East Jerusalem, the Old City and gates to the Temple Mount to prevent further rioting.

Israeli archeologists say construction is nowhere near the mosques, and city officials were divided over legality of work permit.

Palestinian youths have been barred from the Old City and attempted to riot in East Jerusalem, but police have prevented this from also happening.

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