Police closed the holy Temple Mount Tuesday and fired tear gas after 200 Moslem worshipers tried to break through the cordon. Jerusalem's chief Moslem cleric was overcome by tear gas and carried away on a stretcher.
The closure came one day after riots on the Temple Mount, Islam's third-holiest site, in which at least 19 Palestinians were killed and about 140 were wounded by police gunfire.Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip have demanded U.N. protection and announced a protest strike beginning Tuesday, the start of the 36th month of the anti-Israeli uprising in the territories seized during the 1967 Middle East war.
Meanwhile, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein warned Israel Tuesday to evacuate occupied Arab lands or face "quick action" to avenge the Israeli slayings of Palestinians.
Shortly before the statement, a senior Palestinian guerrilla leader said Saddam wants the Persian Gulf crisis resolved peacefully, provided the world links the solution to Israel's withdrawal from occupied lands.
Baghdad Radio said Saddam's statement was read by an announcer on television and radio "for the ears of Moslems around the world."
Arab diplomats called Saddam's statement an attempt to refocus world opinion from his 2-month-old occupation of Kuwait to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Saddam also said Tuesday Iraq has developed a new missile with a range of several hundred miles, long enough to strike deep into Saudi Arabia where tens of thousands of American troops are deployed.
In Washington Tuesday, President Bush said he did not think Israel's role in the violence in Jerusalem would jeopardize the fragile Arab coalition in the Persian Gulf. But he said Israel security forces should have acted "with more restraint."
Bush also declared that Saddam should not use "this unfortunate incident" to try to link his occupation of Kuwait with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
Monday's violence forced the Palestinian question back toward the top of the international agenda. It was the bloodiest clash in Jerusalem since the 1967 war, and the highest single-day death toll in the uprising.
Arab leaders denounced the use of deadly forceby Israeli police.
Tuesday, Japan's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Japan "strongly condemns the excessive use of force by the Israeli authorities" on the Temple Mount. It urged Israeli authorities "to exercise the utmost self-restraint."
The European Community's executive body Tuesday also condemned the Temple Mount violence and called for new efforts to make peace.
Moslem leaders said Tuesday's closure of the Temple Mount marked the first time police had blocked entry to the 35-acre site since Israel captured the surrounding Old City in 1967.
Also Tuesday, hundreds of masked youths threw stones at police in three other neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and widespread protests were reported in Israeli Arab towns.
Moslem clerics said police took all keys to gates of the wall surrounding the Temple Mount, which is known in Arabic as the Haram es-Sharif, or Noble Enclosure, and houses the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques.
The chief Moslem cleric, the mufti of Jerusalem, led 200 Moslems to a gate of the shrine. Border police blocked their way and ordered them to leave.
When the Moslems refused, police fired tear gas, and the mufti, 80-year-old Saad al-Din al-Alami was overcome, an Arab reporter said. The mufti was taken to Mukassed Hospital.
Earlier, police arrested the mufti's deputy, Sheik Mohammed Jamal, on charges of inciting Monday's rioting.
In Israeli Arab towns, police deployed hundreds of additional forces to prevent violence.
In the northern village of Tamra, more than 10,000 Arabs gathered for the funeral of an Israeli Arab killed at the Temple Mount.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has said Monday's riots were engineered by pro-Iraqi Palestinian extremists to deflect attention from Iraqi aggression in the Persian Gulf.