YERUSHALAYIM - Police had their hands full Wednesday night, as Arabs throughout Yerushalayim and in Yehudah and Shomron set off large amounts of fireworks and shot weapons in celebration of the end of high school matriculation tests in the Palestinian Authority. Police on Wednesday seized thousands of fireworks that were hidden in dozens of locations throughout Yerushalayim, and arrested several merchants and individuals who used the fireworks.
It is illegal for individuals to possess or use fireworks in Israel, both because of safety issues and because of concern that terrorists could use the explosives in fireworks to create homemade bombs. Arabs use fireworks to celebrate weddings and family events, and many Israelis who live near large Arab towns often mistake the noise for gunfire. Police said they will continue to act to prevent all use of fireworks by individuals, which endanger Israelis and upset the public order.
Overnight Wednesday, security officials said they arrested seven wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.