Israeli Police find pipe bombs on Temple Mount


Security forces stand guard as Palestinians walk away from tear gas smoke during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, yesterday (AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI)

ISRAELI police yesterday discovered pipe bombs during what they said was a preemptive operation at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount, prompting one senior minister to warn that Israel would review measures at the site, which is holy to both Jew and Muslims.

The Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt condemned the Israeli government for the incident. Police said it approached the compound to prevent an attempt to disrupt Jewish visits to the site.

Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, warned that the discovery of the pipe bombs “forces us to reconsider the arrangements for the Temple Mount.
“It is unacceptable that Muslim rioters who barricaded themselves during the night on the Temple Mount can, at will, turn this holy site into a battlefield, including throwing stones, shooting firecrackers directly at security forces, and even bringing explosive devices into the area of the mount,” he said.

Palestinian witnesses to the early morning disturbances on the Temple Mount said police entered the golden-domed al-Aqsa mosque, but police said they only closed the doors to the mosque to block in rioters throwing stones, fireworks and other objects. Police said that pipe bombs were also found at the entrance to the mosque.

Intelligence information gathered by security forces discovered a plan for an organized riot on the Temple Mount, with protesters stockpiling rocks and firecrackers as well as a barricade at an entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque, police said.

According to police, the intention of the demonstrators was to upset the movements of Jewish visitors in the compound ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which began yesterday evening to the Jewish new year.
“Masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police,” a police statement said. “Suspicious pipes that could be filled with homemade explosives were also found at the entry to the mosque.”

Other violent incidents were reported yesterday in the vicinity of the Temple Mount and the Old City, including several instances of rock throwing at Israeli vehicles. One Israeli youth was lightly wounded.

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