Jerusalem police on alert for final Friday of Ramadan
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Jerusalem police on alert for final Friday of Ramadan

Security forces arrest suspected driver of Netanya terrorist, round up suspected Palestinian rioters in West Bank sweep

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Palestinians pass through Israeli security at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, as they head to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Palestinians pass through Israeli security at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, as they head to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Jerusalem Police were on high alert in the Old City and the predominantly Arab eastern areas of the capital for the final Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Thousands of police were deployed Friday morning across East Jerusalem and around the flashpoint Temple Mount, where the thousands of Muslim worshipers were expected to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Channel 2 reported.

Israel granted 380 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip permission to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Friday, Israel Radio reported. Israel also allowed 80 of the worshipers to remain in the mosque compound overnight, in order to mark Laylat al-Qadr, the night on which Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

“Thousands of [Muslims] are expected to make their way to the Old City for prayers,” a police statement said in English.

“Police and Border Police will be patrolling the different areas to prevent — and respond to if necessary — any incidents.”

In an effort to cap rising tensions, Israel announced Tuesday it was closing the mosque compound to non-Muslim visitors after a series of clashes between worshipers and police.

The decision will apply until the end of Ramadan next week, a police spokeswoman said.

The police deployments came a day after a Palestinian terrorist murdered 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her bed in Kiryat Arba, and two other people were wounded in a stabbing attack in Netanya.

The Israel Defense Forces overnight conducted a pre-demolition inspection of the home of Ariel’s killer, 17-year-old Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah from the village of Bani Na’im, Channel 10 said. Israel regularly demolishes the family homes of terrorists who carry out deadly attacks, although the international community has criticized the measure as collective punishment and a poor deterrent.

On Friday, a relative of Tarayrah from the same village was shot dead as she tried to stab a Border Police officer in Hebron.

Some 1,000 Palestinians also rioted Friday at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank, between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Three police officers were lightly injured in the violence, the Walla news website reported. The checkpoint was closed temporarily due to the riots.

Security forces overnight arrested a 30-year-old resident of Tel Aviv-Jaffa on suspicion of driving the Netanya terrorist to the scene of the attack. He was to appear in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court Friday for a remand hearing. The investigation into the attack continues.

View of the bedroom of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, who was stabbed and killed in a terror attack in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank on June 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the bedroom of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, who was stabbed and killed in a terror attack in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank on June 30, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Also overnight, IDF troops arrested 10 Palestinian suspects from around the West Bank. Nine of the suspects are believed to be members of the Hamas terrorist organization. The 10th is believed to have taken part in so-called popular terrorism, throwing rocks at Israeli civilians and soldiers or taking part in violent demonstrations.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report

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