Giant fire bursts out on Temple Mount near Western Wall

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The Temple Mount fire shot high above the Western Wall. (Courtesy Shetach Boair)

The fire on Judaism’s holiest site puts an exclamation point on a quickly escalating security situation.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

A huge fire broke out on the Temple Mount on Monday night. Fireworks launched by Arab rioters has been blamed.

A police spokesman said, “Police forces and the Border Police are making preparations at the Western Wall plaza following a fire that started on the Temple Mount near the Western Wall, apparently as a result of fireworks fired by [the Arab rioters].”

The fire caused the Western Wall plaza to be evacuated for the second time on Monday, the first following the rocket attack launched by Hamas around 6:00 p.m. when one rocket landed in a settlement near the capital.

However, a large crowd of Jewish celebrants had returned to dance at the Western Wall to mark Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the reunification of the city after the Six Day War.

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The fire on Judaism’s holiest site puts an exclamation point on a quickly escalating security situation that began with the start of Ramadan on April 13 when Arab youths rioted and continued to do so in the following weeks.

Foreign governments, including the Biden administration, began calling for calm, in some cases, expressing displeasure with Israel. (Israel reportedly told the U.S. that its comments weren’t helping.)

The worst came this weekend with violence on the Temple Mount and in Sheikh Jarrah, a Jerusalem neighborhood. That violence spilled over into Monday which saw a Jewish driver nearly lynched by Arab stone-throwers.

Israeli security services have expressed concerns that the situation is sensitive and could lead to a larger conflagration where violence would spread to Judea and Samaria and even parts of Israel with heavy Arab populations.

In preparation for possible violence, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi ordered three more brigades to reinforce the Judea and Samaria region. That is on top of four additional brigades that were called up as reinforcements in recent days.

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