Al Aqsa Mosque Turned into 'War Room'

Israeli police came under assault by rock-throwing Arab protesters on the Temple Mount compound on Wednesday, as clashes were highlighted by pro-Hamas Arab MK Hanin Zoabi's (Balad) presence at the site.

"Dozens of masked protesters threw rocks and firecrackers at security forces who then entered the Temple Mount and pushed the demonstrators back inside the mosque," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.

Police had collected intelligence overnight about Muslim youths who were holing up in the mosque, which has effectively been turned into a combat facility by the Muslims.

The youths collected rocks, fireworks and prepared firebombs inside the Al Aqsa structure, and set up barricades to prevent police from closing the doors of Al Aqsa and shutting them inside, as police usually do in confrontations with them.

Early in the morning, when the Rambam Gate doors were opened for visitors, the young Muslims began firing fireworks at police who were at the gate.

As police entered the compound, which was originally built for the Jews who made pilgrimage to the First and Second Jewish Temples, the Muslims escaped into the Al Aqsa structure and fired hundreds of firework rockets directly at the policemen. They also used fire extinguishers to spray at the police.

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