Police deal with volatile Muslim prayers in Jerusalem

Friday, August 28, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff  

An Israeli police officer was wounded and five Palestinian Arabs were arrested as some 90,000 Muslims poured into Jerusalem's Old City on Friday to hold the first major annual Ramadan prayers atop the Muslim-occupied Temple Mount.

Israel actually loosened restrictions on the event this year, despite eruptions of anti-Jewish violence in years past. This year, Palestinians from both eastern Jerusalem and Palestinian-controlled areas over the age of 50 were able to enter the Temple Mount freely. Additionally, Palestinian Arabs who were not residents of Jerusalem were allowed to enter if they obtained a special permit.

Police were able to quell or head off several instances of violence, leading to the five arrests. One of the detained men was taken into custody after police officers found a large knife in his possession.

The only instance of open violence occurred when an Arab resident of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya attacked an Israeli police officer who tried to search him before allowing him entry to the Old City. The officer was lightly wounded in the altercation.

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