JERUSALEM (JTA) – Masked Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount after it was opened to visitors on the eve of Sukkot.
The rioters threw rocks, concrete blocks and firebombs at police at the Mughrabi gate entrance to the Temple Mount on Wednesday morning. Four policemen were injured during the violence. Five protesters were arrested, according to Israel Police.
Police said they dispersed the rioters. The Palestinian Maan news service said that several of the protesters holed up in the Al Aksa Mosque, and said that police then locked them inside the mosque. Visits to the Temple Mount continued undisturbed.
There are more visitors to the Temple Mount this week due to the influx of travelers for the Sukkot holiday, leading to more tension at the site that is holy to both Jews and Palestinians.
The riots come after weeks of rioting and unrest at the Temple Mount and in eastern Jerusalem.
The police announced Tuesday that it would increase security at the Temple Mount and throughout Jerusalem for the Sukkot holiday.
The unrest also comes after Israeli news reports that the Ministry of Tourism is looking into a plan to open a second gate for Jews and other non-Muslims to enter the Temple Mount.
They currently use the Mughrabi Gate, whose entrance originates from the Western Wall plaza.
Palestinian leader and PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said the plan would end the possibility for peace.
“Israel is creating a new reality at the expense of Palestinians, their religious rights, sites, and historical identity,” Ashrawi said, according to Maan. “They are violating the sanctity of religious sites without consequences, which completely terminates possibilities for peace and will ultimately drag the whole region into disastrous clashes.”
Ashrawi is a Palestinian Christian.