Seven Jewish visitors ejected from Temple Mount on religious holiday

Seven Jewish visitors were removed from Temple Mount by police on Sunday as thousands gathered in Jerusalem's Old City to pray at the Wailing Wall on a Jewish fast day, Israeli media said.

According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the seven, out of a group of about 300 Jewish visitors, were not acting appropriately.

Hundreds of Israeli police had been patrolling the streets in order to prevent confrontation on the annual Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the tragedies of the Jewish people, beginning on Saturday night.

The Wailing Wall, also known as the Western Wall or Kotel, is an ancient retaining wall that sits at the foot of the Temple Mount or Noble Sanctuary, considered a holy site in both Islam and Judaism.

Under a status quo agreement, only Muslims can pray on the platform housing al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple, while Jews are permitted only to visit.

Israel's deputy defence minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, stoked long-standing Palestinian fears that Israel is trying to change the controversial arrangement on visiting and praying at the holy site on Saturday.

"We aren't embarrassed to say it: We want to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount," he said, according to broadcaster Arutz 7.

At the centre of Tisha B'Av is the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the Romans. The fast day starts with the reading of the Book of Lamentations by candlelight in the synagogue Saturday night while worshippers sit on the floor.

Last update: Sun, 14/08/2016 - 15:04

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