Sunset today (Wednesday) marks the start of the biblical holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Arab residents of Jerusalem and surrounding areas also marked the occasion by rioting atop the Temple Mount.
Shortly after the sacred compound opened on Wednesday and before non-Muslim visitors could ascend, Muslim mobs began hurling firebombs and stones at police forces stationed at the Temple Mount, sparking violent clashes.
As Israeli Border Police flooded into the Temple Mount, the rioters retreated into the Al Aqsa Mosque and from there continued their attacks. The Israelis finally broke through the barricades erected at the doors of the mosque, but not before several officers were wounded.
Police officials said forces atop the Temple Mount would remain bolstered throughout the High Holy Days, including the upcoming Yom Kippur and the week-long Sukkot, or Feast of Tabernacles.
A police spokesman said there were no specific threats regarding the Temple Mount, but that security forces were preparing for all eventualities, especially in the wake of this week’s elimination of the two Hamas terrorists behind the June 12 abduction and execution of three Jewish youths.
The Temple Mount and Jewish places of worship around the country will see increased security in order to thwart any Hamas efforts at retaliation.