Israeli security forces on Friday morning stopped a number of buses coming from northern Israel to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and ordered them to return home.
Aboard the buses were hundreds of Muslims making their way to the Al Aqsa Mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount for Friday morning prayers.
But Israeli officials said they were coming for more than just praying, and that among the Muslim worshippers were Islamic clerics who intended to incite further violence in the Holy City.
A day earlier in Jerusalem, a recent Arab Christian convert to Islam had deliberately slammed his car into a group of young Israeli soldiers, leaving 12 wounded, one seriously.
Just hours later, a Muslim terrorist opened fire on Israeli police officers at the Lions Gate of the Old City, wounding one before other officers at the scene shot him dead.
There was additional violence in other parts of Samaria, including a terrorist shooting that left one Israeli soldier wounded, and violent riots in the northern city of Jenin in which two Palestinians were killed.
The sudden escalation in Arab Muslim violence has put Israeli security on high alert. And the decision to halt the buses of worshippers from northern Israel paid off, as Friday morning Islamic prayer atop the Temple Mount passed quietly, albeit under heavy Israeli security supervision.