Six dead after violence erupts over Temple Mount metal detectors

John Sexton Posted at 8:41 pm on July 21, 2017

Three Israelis having dinner in their West Bank home were murdered by a 19-year-old Palestinian wielding a knife Friday. From Reuters:

The three Israelis stabbed to death and a fourth who was wounded were from the fenced-in West Bank settlement of Neve Tsuf. Israeli media said the three dead were all members of the same family, two men aged 60 and 40 and a woman of 40.

The wounded woman, 68, was hospitalised with stab wounds to her back, Israeli media said.

A still photo carried by Israeli television showed a kitchen floor completely red with blood. The family had sat down to a traditional Friday evening meal when the attack occurred, according to Israel Radio.

Also Friday, three Palestinians were killed in separate incidents around the city. From the NY Times:

Three Palestinian protesters were fatally shot in separate clashes in and around Jerusalem. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified them as Muhammad Mahmoud Sharaf, 17, from the mostly Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem; Muhammad Abu Ghanam, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of At-Tur, which is on the Mount of Olives; and Muhammad Lafi, 18, from Abu Dis, a Palestinian town on the outskirts of the city.

The escalation of violence comes after two Israeli soldiers were killed by three attackers at the Temple Mount last week. The attackers shot the soldiers with automatic weapons then ran back to the Temple Mount. After the attack, Israel closed the site and searched it.

Two days later the site was reopened with metal detectors in place. The decision to add the metal detectors outraged Muslims. Hamas issued a statement saluting the “martyrs” who killed the two Israeli soldiers and claiming the metal detectors were part of an Israeli plan to “cunningly seize the third holiest site.”

Muslims said they would not pray at the mosque until the metal detectors were removed. Instead, they have been praying in the street outside the entrance and often clashing with police. This France24 clip shows what happened Thursday night after prayers ended:

The situation was expected to escalate Friday after Hamas called for a “day of rage.” The Times of Israel wrote last week that the three attackers who killed the two Israeli police officers were looking to “set the Middle East ablaze.” That seems to be exactly what is happening.