Israeli police reopen Temple Mount holy site after clashes

Firebomb on Temple Mount sparks unrest as Israeli police close entrances to site

The office of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement Tuesday afternoon condemning the "dangerous Israeli escalation in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque" - a reference to the entire span of the Temple Mount compound - and calling on the global community to urgently intervene to force Israel to reopen the site after an Arab terror attack earlier in the day on the Israel Police station in the compound.

Jerusalem Police chief Doron Yadid ordered the Temple Mount compound reopened to Muslim worshipers on Wednesday morning after the holy site was shuttered Tuesday following a firebomb attack on a police post.

The Waqf, the Islamic endowment body tasked with managing the holy site, said that the compound had been opened for dawn prayers attended by worshipers without incident.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned in an official statement what he described as "Israeli escalation" following the clashes, and warned of "grave consequences".

There were no injuries reported from the firebombing, but police quickly deployed across the hilltop compound, scuffling with Palestinians in the area as they searched for the assailants.

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Police have filed a request with Israeli courts for an order to re-close the building, but the court has reportedly delayed any decision to allow for more negotiations.

The closure of the sacred compound also drew censure from Jordan, the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

In a statement cited by Haaretz, Hamas "called on Palestinians from all over - in Jerusalem, the West Bank and within the Green Line - to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, to break the barricade that the Israeli police have thrown upon us, and to never give up on the right to enter the complex freely".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu lashed out at Israel over the incident, saying it was time to end the country's "recklessness". We are against all acts of violence and we condemn Israel's actions in the Al-Aqsa Mosque today.

"We can not accept such reckless attacks on holy sites and the whole world needs to react against it", the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Cavusoglu as saying.

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The area has experienced a series of tense stand-offs in recent weeks after Muslim worshippers reopened an area known as the Gate of Mercy, closed by Israel in 2003.

Recent weeks have seen an uptick in violence on the Temple Mount.

According to Israel's agreement with the Waqf, Jews may visit the holy site but are barred from praying.

Also last week, Israel attempted to force Jordan, which manages the Al-Aqsa compound, into restricting Palestinians from using the area for praying.

High-level Israeli and Jordanian officials have been holding talks in the hope of defusing the situation.

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