Jewish New Year’s Eve saw a sharp upsurge of Palestinian violence in Jerusalem, culminating in the death Sunday night, Sept. 13, of an Israeli man in his fifties. His car was struck by flying rocks and crashed into a pole in the southern district of Arnona, a regular Palestinian mode of attack on civilian traffic which has injured many motorists on Jerusalem roads.
That morning, a large Israeli police and security force, acting on a tip, raided an apartment in the Old City of Jerusalem and seized eight large pipes crammed with explosives. These deadly improvised weapons were prepared for smuggling into Temple Mt. and used for the first time in a long history of violent Muslim rampages at the shrine against Israeli police preserving the order there, or Jewish worshippers congregating for prayer at the Western Wall below.
Had they reached their destination Sunday night, Sept. 13, these pipe bombs would have caused mass casualties among the New Year worshippers assembled there
Israel’s security chiefs including Public Order Minister Gilead Erdan, then ordered a surprise foray on Temple Mount to determine whether some of the pipe bombs had not reached their destination.
Just before the evening prayer at the Western Wall, a large police force led by the Jerusalem commander, stormed the Temple Mt. surprising a large gang of Palestinian youths preparing for their regular rampage. Some of them fled and barricaded themselves in the Al Aqsa Mosque. This time, the police units gave pursuit. debkafile reports a major clash ensued in the main hall of the mosque as the Palestinian youths drew on a prepared hoard of projectiles to hurl rocks, cement blocks and firecrackers at the advancing Israeli police officers.
Thirteen Palestinians were injured in the clash before the police withdrew.
The governments of Egypt and Jordan both condemned Israel for the event. Public Minister Erdan issued this statement: “The Israeli Police are to be commended for making advance provisions to secure safe access for all visitors to Temple Mount on Rosh Hashana. The serious events occurring there make it necessary for all of us to review the current regulations and provisions.”
Commander Chico Ederi, Jerusalem police chief, said: “We will continue to show zero tolerance for violence and stand prepared to forestall it. The police officers deserve all possible praise for the professionalism, dedication and resolve they displayed in quelling an outbreak of violence with great speed.”
After calm was restored, police allowed Jewish visitors to enter Temple Mt, site of the Jewish Temples, which is also sacred to Christians and Moslems. Large police troupes guarded each group.
Monday morning, the first day of Rosh Hashana, fresh Palestinian riots erupted on Temple Mt.