A high alert was declared by the police and IDF in Yerushalayim ahead of the first Friday in Ramadan, when masses of Muslims come to Har Habayis. The alert follows a second day of Arab rioting on Thursday as masked youths threw stones and shot firecrackers at police officers in the Shuafat section of east Yerushalayim and other neighborhoods. Police are expecting tens of thousands to stream toward the Old City and thousands of soldiers and police officers will be deployed to maintain order.
Concurrently, security officials warned that there is apprehension of potential terror attacks in high traffic areas and are calling on the public to be alert.
The disorders were exacerbated by the killing of an Arab youth in a forested area adjacent to the capital in what some claim is a revenge crime carried out by Jews. Palestinian leaders including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were quick to accuse Israelis of the crime. But a police investigation is still underway and among the possibilities being explored are criminal motives or a family feud. So far the perpetrators are not known.
During Thursday afternoon’s disturbances, a police officer was struck in the face with a sharp object and lightly injured. He was evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center on Har Hatzofim.
Crowd dispersal measures were employed, and the entire neighborhood of Shuafat was still cordoned off as of 6:00 PM.
Arabs and Jews also fought in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, outside the Old City, on Thursday afternoon. Arab rioters punctured the tires of several cars parked in the City of David archaeological complex, while a handful of Jewish youths responded with Molotov cocktails and rocks at houses in Silwan, according to The Times of Israel.
Hundreds of local police officers and Border Police forces were deployed to restore order in the capital.
Security forces say that the primary effort is to achieve stability in the area, and the IDF has instructed the soldiers to behave responsibly and with discretion in order not to fan the flames among an already riled up population.