Gunman Resisted Arrest and Killed in Firefight by Police; Temple Mount Closed To All
By Tzvi Zucker
Tazpit News Agency
Last night a prominent Temple Mount activist was shot by a terrorist three times at point blank range. Yehuda Glick, a dual American and Israeli citizen, was leaving an annual conference about access rights to the Temple Mount after giving a speech. According to eyewitnesses, a Palestinian on a motorcycle drove up next to him, asked Glick to confirm his identity in Hebrew, and then shot him three times. The gunman then drove away.
Glick was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery, and had part of his lung removed. He is fighting for his life.
Police units tracked down the gunman, Moataz Hejazi, to his home in Abu-Tor this morning and moved in to arrest him. He opened fire on the police, and was killed. Hijazi had spent eleven years in prison for prior terror activity, including 7 different attempts at arson. Hejazi’s father and brother were brought in for questioning following the shootout. Both Islamic Jihad and Fatah have claimed responsibility for Hejazi’s attack. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum was quoted in a press release saying “The assassination attempt of Yehuda Glick…is a heroic and courageous act.”
Following the attack, Jerusalem Police closed down the Temple Mount to all worshippers and visitors. Mahmoud Abbas announced that the closure is a “declaration of war”. However, there were reports that prayer services were held today in Al Aqsa Mosque.
Shmuel Sackett, the International Director of Manhigut Yehudit (Moshe Feiglin’s faction in the Knesset) commented to Tazpit News Agency, “It is not surprising nor shocking that Israeli authorities did not keep their word” regarding the Temple Mount closure. “There is a double standard in this country when it comes to enforcing the law.” Sackett was referring to the current status quo on the Temple Mount, where Muslim worshippers are usually given unimpeded access to the site, while Jewish ones have their access restricted, and if allowed entry are often not allowed to pray while there.
It is significant that the gunman confirmed Glick’s identity, as it suggests this may have been a targeted assassination and not a random shooting. Glick has been threatened numerous times for his work in lobbying the government for increased Jewish access to the Temple Mount, especially for prayer. He is also known for his public activism for that goal as well, having once staged a hunger strike over not being allowed to ascend the Temple Mount by police. Glick is the spokesman for the Joint Committee of Temple Organizations.
“It is clear that Yehuda Glick was targeted because of what he represents,” said Eli Knoller, a parliamentary assistant to Member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin (Likud). “He represents the return of the Har Habayit (Temple Mount) to the hearts of Jews. It is not the Kotel (Western Wall) that is the holiest site to Jews, but the Temple Mount.
Riots broke out this morning in Abu-Tor after the attempted arrest of the terrorist, with fires burning in the streets. In the Old City, there were firebombs thrown at police by Palestinians. Rocks were thrown at passerby, with a woman being hit in the head by a rock, and needing to be transported to the hospital. Rioters were arrested, including a 20 year old Palestinian. People in the Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza were stoned as well.
Buses around the city continue to be pelted by stones thrown by Palestinians, with several coming under attack during the day. Damage was caused to buses, but no injuries were reported.
The shooting is the latest in terror attacks around Jerusalem that have been ongoing for several weeks. Riots in East Jerusalem are a daily occurrence, where masked Palestinians clash with police and Border Guards. Rocks and firebombs are thrown at motorists, buses, and the light rail daily; last week, a Palestinian drove his car into a light rail station, killing an infant and a young woman. Thousands of extra police have been posted to Jerusalem, and the threat level has been raised to its highest.