By TOMMY MUELLER, ISRAEL TODAY—
This past weekend was one of violence in Israel. Immediately following Friday prayers, hundreds of Muslims rioted on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, hurling stones at police officers. On Saturday night, terrorists operating out of the Gaza Strip fired a missile into southern Israel. And, one person was killed when his car exploded in what police believe to be a mob hit in Tel Aviv.
The Temple Mount riot was expected by police, who had received information over the past week of Muslim plans to instigate a violent demonstration. To minimize casualties, police closed the holy site to non-Muslims ahead of time. When the predetermined time came, the Muslims suddenly and without provocation began attacking Israeli police stationed in the area. Israeli security forces subsequently stormed the Temple Mount and arrested seven rioters.
Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said no officers were injured in the altercation, and that police presence was boosted in the Old City to prevent further unrest. Radical Muslims have long demanded a prohibition on any and all Jewish access to the Temple Mount, arguing that the presence of Jews “contaminates” the holy site.
On Saturday evening, terrorists fired at least one rocket from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Last Thursday, three missiles struck southern Israel. The attacks come despite Hamas making a show of securing the border region between Gaza and southern Israel.
Israel responded to the rocket fire with aerial assaults on known terrorist positions. According to Palestinian sources, a 28-year-old militant involved in recent rocket attacks was seriously injured in the Israeli reprisals while riding his motorcycle.
Early Sunday morning, a residential area in Tel Aviv was rocked when a car exploded killing the driver instantly. Local media reported that the victim had known ties to organized crime. It was the third crime-related car bombing in Israel in the past week. Investigators suspect an intensifying gang war between local crime families.
In related news, police announced the recent arrest of four Palestinian Arab men from eastern Jerusalem who were planning a terrorist attack against a Jewish wedding.
According to the indictment, the men, aged only 19-21, intended to attack a local wedding hall with machine guns while disguised as Orthodox Jews. The hall in question can accommodate up to 1,500 guests. Police said the attack would have been a massacre had they not stopped it in time.