The Dome of the Rock Mosque, situated next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s 3rd holiest site, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Muslim religious officials told WAFA that Israeli police imposed a siege on the place of worship for several hours, Monday.

The Waqf employees reportedly refused to allow an Israeli policeman, to enter the Muslim holy site, while wearing a Jewish ‘kippah’ on his head. The gates to the Dome of the Rock were sealed by Israeli police, waiting for the Waqf employees who had sealed themselves inside.

Palestinian Muslims arrived at the gates of the mosque, and called for the police to re-open the gates. Several hours later, the gates were opened up to worshippers; however, Israeli police detained several Waqf employees responsible for the mosques in Jerusalem. The detention of the Muslim Waqf staff, was apparently for denying the entry of the Israeli policeman into the Muslim holy site.

The Associated Press reported that spokesman for the Islamic authority, Firas Dibs, said “dozens of worshippers scuffled with police after the guards closed the doors to the mosque and barricaded themselves inside. He says the director of the mosque was lightly wounded.”

The soon to be Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, on September 28, 2000, entered the Al-Aqsa compound, protected by Israeli soldiers and police. This was seen as highly provocative by Palestinians, who fought to protect Al-Aqsa, and were violently suppressed by the Israeli soldiers and police guarding Sharon.

Seven Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces as a result of the escalation caused by Sharon, that day. Approximately 3300 more Palestinians were killed over the next 4 years of the Second Intifada.