Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Waqf workers arrested for assault on archaeologists

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Israel Arrests Temple Mount Officials After Assault on Archaeologists. Waqf officials say Israeli archaeologists tried to remove stones from the complex, violating status quo (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
Israeli Police arrested four workers of the Waqf, the Islamic trust responsible for managing Muslim sites in Jerusalem's Old City, on suspicion that they were involved in an attack Monday on Antiquities Authority staff on Temple Mount.

Waqf officials allege that the incident happened after Israeli archaeologists tried to remove stones from the Temple Mount complex, which the Palestinians say violates the status quo. Six other Waqf employees were arrested earlier on Monday, four of whom remain in custody.

An Antiquities Authority official told Haaretz on Tuesday that the archaeologists were touring Temple Mount to examine areas under threat of collapse. The official said the incident began after one of the archaeologists picked up a stone that had fallen in order to examine it. He added that there was no intent to remove anything from the complex.

Another attack on archaeologists by Waqf members was reported back in July and led to formal charges. Background here and here.