Counter-measures to prevent spillover from Shuafat violence fails as rage-filled worshipers clash with police.
by Tova Dvorin
Palestinian Arabs rioted against police on the Temple Mount Friday afternoon, despite restrictions imposed on access to Judaism's holiest site due to ongoing concerns about Jerusalem's security.
Police have begun riot control measures on the site, according to Yediot Aharonoth, including using stun grenades to handle the unruly crowd.
Earlier Friday, police announced that access to the Mount would be restricted for Muslims to males with Israeli citizenship over the age of 50 and all female worshippers.
Friday also marks the first Friday, or Muslim day of rest, of the month-long fast of Ramadan.
Tensions high in Jerusalem
Rioting in Jerusalem has been worsening throughout the week, after rumors circulated that Abu-Khder's murder was the work of Jewish extremists looking for "revenge" over the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha'ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19). Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as well as some in the international media, have since repeated those claims as fact.
Israeli leaders - including the mayor of Jerusalem and Prime Minister Netanyahu - rushed to condemn the murder, despite the lack of clear evidence suggesting that the murder was an act of nationalistic revenge.
Several reports indicate the abduction was in fact carried out by Arabs as an "honor killing" or another kind of criminal murder, including conflicting testimonies from the boy's own parents about an alleged abduction reported the night before the murder, in which his mother said the assailants were Jews, while the father insisted they were Arabs.
Nevertheless, the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat has since become a flashpoint for chaos and violence.
Wednesday and Thursday, rioters threw pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, and rocks at Israeli forces and the press and shouted anti-Semitic chants; three Jerusalem Light Rail stations were burnt down as well.