MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) — Israel has decided to close access to the Temple Mount, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, to all visitors, including worshipers, until further notice after a right-wing activist was shot near the holy site, the Times of Israel reports, citing local police spokesman.
The directive to shut the site was issued by Moshe Edri, Jerusalem District Police Commander, and Yitzhak Aharonovich, Israel’s Minister of Internal Security. Police forces have been put on high alert across the country and additional units have been deployed to patrol Jerusalem, where Palestinians and Israelis have clashed daily.
A prominent right-wing activist Yehudah Glick was attacked shortly after giving a speech at a conference titled “Israel returns to the Temple Mount” at the Menachem Begin Center. He was shot three times in what police suspect might have been an assassination attempt. The attacker fled the scene on a motorcycle.
The Palestinian, suspected of shooting Glick, was fatally shot by the police early on Thursday, Reuters reports. The police have neither disclosed the identity of the deceased nor confirmed that he was the one to attack Glick.
Glick, who has received numerous threats to his life, is undergoing surgery and will need another round on Thursday, Dr. Ofer Naim, who leads trauma unit at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, said, according to the Times of Israel. The activist’s condition has been reported as stable but serious. “His situation at this moment is stable but his life is still at risk,” said Dr. Yonatan Halevy, Shaare Zedek’s director-general, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.
Glick has ardently advocated for Jews to be granted broader access to the Temple Mount, including the right to pray at the site.
“I am praying for the full recovery of Yehuda Glick. The bullets fired at him tonight were directed at all the Jews that want to exercise their Jewish and moral right to visit the most holy place to the Jewish people and to pray at the Temple Mount,” Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of housing and construction, said, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post. “I call on the prime minister to immediately allow every Jew to freely go to the Temple Mount, and to act with an iron fist against the criminals responsible for this deed,” he added.
The Temple Mount is considered the holiest place in Judaism and third holiest in Islam. Home to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, it is referred to as the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims. Jewish worshipers are not allowed to pray at the holy site, managed by Jordan. They can only visit it as tourists. Israel’s police provide security to the Temple Mount.