IDF on Alert as Temple Mount Tension Threatens to Boil Over Friday
JNS.org – The IDF said on Thursday it was preparing to deploy five battalions to prevent the spread of violent clashes from Jerusalem to the West Bank, ahead of massive Muslim protests anticipated on Friday outside the Temple Mount.
“The situation is very fragile and sensitive,” said Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, in comments distributed by The Israel Project.
Muslims have rioted in Jerusalem’s Old City for several days, protesting increased security measures implemented by Israel at the Temple Mount following the terror attack that killed two Israeli police officers near the holy site on July 14.
In a move that is expected to exacerbate the tension, the Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf announced the closure of all mosques in eastern Jerusalem, forcing thousands of Muslims to join prayer protests in the streets.
Many Muslims have been traveling to Jerusalem from Israel’s peripheral regions ahead of Friday’s protests, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political leader of the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas, called on Palestinians to confront Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border on Friday.
The US was “very concerned” about the tension surrounding the Temple Mount, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.