Israel Police arrested seven Palestinians on Wednesday for throwing Molotov cocktails from inside al-Aqsa mosque, ostensibly one of Islam’s holiest sites. The intervention came amid ongoing clashes as Jewish visitors enter the Temple Mount compound for the last time until the end of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
The flashpoint site, which is Judaism’s holiest as the site of the biblical Temples and the third holiest in Islam, is administered by the Jordanian Islamic Waqf. According to the Waqf’s current policy, Jews are allowed to visit the site but are barred from uttering prayers — even under their breath or disguised as a sermon — prostrating, or performing any other religious rituals. Three Jewish men were arrested for attempting to pray on Wednesday.
From Thursday and until the end of Ramadan, Jews are barred from entering entirely.
Violent clashes have taken place over the past week of Passover as Palestinian rioters attempted to stop Jews from ascending the site. Footage shows Palestinians hitting Jewish worshipers in the head on their way to pray. Palestinians are heard chanting slogans in support of Hamas as well as chants of “with our souls and blood, we will redeem you, O Aqsa.” Rioters also threw stones at public buses, smashing windows and wounding passengers.