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Doomsday averted on the Temple Mount, for now

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas set aside their mutual loathing to calm tensions when Israeli Arabs launched a short-lived attack on the Temple Mount.
An Israeli border police officer guards next to an entrance leading to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City July 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RTX3BMMA
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There is no more horrifying scenario for Israel, and perhaps the entire Middle East, than a serious attack on the Temple Mount, which to Muslims is the Haram al-Sharif, site of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Such a scenario has been keeping Israeli defense officials awake at night since the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel took control of the eastern part of Jerusalem. At 7 a.m. July 14, it looked as if that very scenario might unfold.

Three young Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm burst into the compound, the third holiest site in Islam, armed with makeshift machine guns, a pistol and knives. As they made their way, they shot and killed two Border Patrol officers stationed at one of the entrances. Their plan was to seize control of Al-Aqsa and thereby ignite a huge conflagration in Jerusalem, and perhaps Israel, the West Bank and the entire Middle East. Fortunately, Border Patrol officers responded quickly, and after a brief chase through the square surrounding the mosques there, shot and killed the three attackers.

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