Security Officials: Situation Calming After Weekend Unrest in Gaza, Northern Israel

Israeli security forces clash with Palestinians during a protest against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel, in Ramallah, Friday. (Flash90)

Gaza Arab terrorists fired two rockets at Israeli targets Friday night, as unrest continued in Gaza, Yehudah and Shomron, and in northern Israel after Wednesday’s announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump that he recognized Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital. One of the Gaza rockets fell in the southern town of Sderot, damaging several vehicles. B’chasdei Shamayim, no injuries were reported. The second rocket was intercepted by an Iron Dome anti-rocket missile. In response to the Gaza rocket fire, IDF forces hit Hamas targets in Gaza. Hamas claimed that two Gazans were killed and 25 injured in the Israeli strikes.

The rocket fire was accompanied by major rioting in Gaza, with hundreds attempting to breach the Gaza border fence on Friday. IDF forces responded with anti-riot measures. By Saturday, security officials said that there were far fewer rioters. IDF Southern Command head General Yoav Mordechai warned Hamas against continued strikes against Israel. “In recent days irresponsible individuals and groups have attempted to drag Gaza into conflict, and it is the residents of Gaza who will pay the price. Continued escalation will bring about a painful response from the IDF.”

Riots took place in several Arab cities in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas over Shabbos. Arabs threw stones and firebombs at IDF soldiers, who used anti-riot measures to break up disturbances. Soldiers opened fire on several rioters. Palestinians reported several injuries during the riots. Major riots occurred near Kever Rochel and on Salah a-Din Street in the center of Yerushalayim’s main Arab neighborhood. Security sources said that the rioting had calmed as night fell, and that it appeared that the crowds had expended much of their energy.

Of great concern to Israeli officials was a demonstration that took place in the Wadi Ara area. Hundreds of people demonstrated outside Kafr Kara, on Road 65, throwing rocks and stones at vehicles. Rioters targeted a bus in a rock attack, injuring a driver and two passengers. Rioters also blocked the road for several minutes. Smaller demonstrations took place in the Israeli Arab communities of Majd al-Krum, Taibe, Kafr Kana and in Haifa. United Arab List MKs participated in several of the demonstrations. Police said that the demonstrations broke up as night approached as well, and they expected Sunday to be quiet, as residents went back to work and school.