Israeli Police Shutter Dome of the Rock Mosque After Scuffle (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

© AFP 2022 / AHMAD GHARABLIA balloon flies near the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third most holy site, in the old city of Jerusalem
A balloon flies near the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third most holy site, in the old city of Jerusalem - Sputnik International
Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock Mosque was shuttered on Monday for several hours after a scuffle broke out between Muslim guards of the holy site and Israeli officials who were attempting to conduct a routine security check of the area when the Israeli officer refused to take off his kippah.

For almost five hours, the Muslim shrine was closed as a result of a dispute between security officials. Abdallah Abbadi, the manager of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, told the Middle East Eye that the incident unfolded over an Israeli official's decision to wear a kippah or yarmulke, a traditional small flat cap worn by religious Jewish men, during a routine check of the site. The kippah is meant to be worn at all times; however, men are to uncover their heads before entering a mosque.

​"The guards of the Dome of the Rock stopped him from entering, because the mosque belongs to Muslims, not to Jews," Abbadi told the outlet. "And then the Israeli military police shut down the Dome and prevented people from entering."

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Expanding on Abbadi's recollection of the events, Firas al-Dibs, spokesperson for Jerusalem's Jordanian-run Religious Endowments Authority, explained to Turkish media outlet Yeni Şafak that Israeli police officers tour the mosque every day.

"The guards asked the policeman to take off his cap before entering the mosque, but he refused and attempted to force his way into the place, prompting the guards to close it," he said, before revealing that Omar al-Kiswani, the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was injured during the subsequent scuffle that broke out with worshippers wanting to enter the grounds for prayer.

​Footage shared on social media shows worshippers walking a slightly scattered al-Kiswani away from the shrine. He was reportedly transported to a hospital for treatment, according to Yeni Şafak.

According to al-Dibs, dozens of worshippers managed to barricade themselves inside the site before it was blocked off by Israeli police. AP reported that once the doors to the site were reopened, five individuals were detained for questioning.

​Those detained persons were identified by the Al-Quds news site as guards Ahmed Abu Alia, Louay Abu al-Saad, Fadi Alyan and Yahya Shehada, and Fatah leader Awad al-Salaima.

​The Dome of the Rock Mosque is part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which is considered by Muslims to be the third holiest site in the world after Saudi cities Mecca and Medina. Per Abbadi, after tensions ceased, worshippers were allowed to reenter the complex, but had to give their ID cards to police before proceeding, retrieving them upon departure.

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