Police operating in the Arab Issawiya neighborhood of Yerushalayim Wednesday night were pummeled with stones and bricks and attacked with firebombs as they tried to carry out arrests of criminal suspects. The riot involved hundreds of young Arabs in incidents that police said are becoming nightly rituals.
Police said that the rioters have a distinct modus operandi. Police enter the neighborhood nightly to arrest suspects or search for stolen cars, and at one point someone throws a rock at officers. That is a signal to other rioters to take up the battle, which usually lasts several hours. Police then go into action, arresting rioters. They are usually released after several hours.
In recent months, police have stepped up their activities in the neighborhood, which is another source of tension. Since July 1, several hundred arrests have been made, many of them for rioting. Residents told Channel 12 that the police arrive at any time of day or night and conduct searches, making a difficult situation even more so.
Overnight Wednesday, security officials said they arrested 20 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.