Palestinians rip doors off disputed building on Temple Mount

Protesters also raise national flag over the Gate of Mercy amid soaring tensions over access to shuttered mosque

Palestinians break a door of the Gate of Mercy on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 15, 2019.

Times of Israel reports, “Palestinian worshipers on Friday ripped the doors off a building on the Temple Mount complex at the heart of recent tensions between Israeli security forces and the Islamic Waqf, which acts as the custodian of the volatile holy site on behalf of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian protesters removed the doors of the Gate of Mercy, or Bab al-Rahma, after Friday prayers, despite instructions from the Waqf, the Temple Mount custodian and the head sheikh, all of whom had urged calm. A group of protesters also raised the Palestinian flag on the roof of the building, and it was then removed by police, according to the Haaretz daily.”

“The Gate of Mercy was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 because the group managing the area had ties to Hamas, and it has been kept closed to stop illegal construction work there by the Waqf. Israeli officials believe the work carried out by the Waqf, which refused to allow any Israeli observers, has led to the destruction of antiquities from periods of Jewish presence in the area.”

“The Waqf has repeatedly challenged the closure, convening and staging prayer-protests in the area that often erupted into clashes with police. Last month, the Waqf reopened the site and Palestinian worshipers have begun to use it as a mosque, despite Israeli attempts to keep the area sealed.” (more…)

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