So goes the Arutz Sheva headline to this story by Hillel Fendel, without the question mark. However, no one else seems to be reporting this, so I am approaching it with reserve at this point.
Four Kassam rockets were fired into Israel and Arabs rioted in Jerusalem – in protest of Antiquities Authority works at the Western Wall Plaza entrance to the Temple Mount.
Restrictions were placed on Moslem worshipers allowed to the Temple Mount, and the police were out in force Tuesday morning at the excavation works site, in anticipation of a fierce Arab reaction to the work. Though less violent than expected, rock-throwers rioted in eastern and northern Jerusalem; 11 Arabs were arrested.
In addition, terrorist groups fired four Kassam rockets, in two waves, claiming to retaliate for the excavation work. In the first Kassam wave, around 1 PM, one rocket landed on the fence of a sensitive infrastructures installations outside Ashkelon, and one crashed into the western Negev. Three hours later, two more rockets smashed down near Sderot, including one that landed in a nearby community. No one was hurt.
The Antiquities Authority is carrying out a “salvage excavation,” a preparatory operation before the construction of a new pedestrian pathway to the Temple Mount. The existing one, leading to the Mughrabim Gate, was rebuilt over the past two years after earthquake and weather damage, and cuts off much of the women’s prayer area at the Western Wall.
Jerusalem arachaeologist Yuval Baruch said that the excavations are not at all near the Temple Mount, and that the Arabs have no reason to protest. Jerusalem District Police Chief Ilan Franko agreed, adding that the works were coordinated in advance with the Moslem Waqf that oversees the Temple Mount.