Police revealed Monday that officers had discovered wheelbarrows filled with bricks and heavy rocks on the Temple Mount on Sunday. The rocks were apparently prepared by Muslims who planned to use them against police and Jewish worshippers in case of a riot.
The discovery was one of the factors that led to the closure of the Temple Mount to Jews and to limited entrance to Muslim worshippers, police said.
Another factor was ongoing incitement from Muslim leaders, several of whom have accused Israeli Jews of planning to harm the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. On Sunday and Monday, Muslim leaders in Jerusalem and around the country called on young Muslims to “come and protect Al-Aksa.”
The call to protect the mosque from alleged Zionist plots spread quickly, and on Monday thousands of Muslims in Gaza, Judea and Samaria took part in solidarity rallies calling to protect Muslim control of the Temple Mount compound.
Between the incitement and the prepared rocks, police came to believe that rioters were planning more trouble, and that previous riots were not merely a spontaneous response to the presence of religious Jews on the Temple Mount, as Muslim worshippers had previously claimed.
Several Muslim rock attacks on Jews have been reported recently on the Temple Mount and in historic Jerusalem, including the Mount of Olives.
The Temple Mount and the Western Wall (Kotel) were under heavy police scrutiny Monday, and no attacks were reported in the area. However, attacks were reported elsewhere in Jerusalem, including in the Shuafat neighborhood, where a police officer was wounded by Arab attackers wielding stones.
Earlier in the day, a soldier was moderately wounded in Shuafat when he was stabbed in the neck during a routine inspection. His attacker has been arrested.