A Jewish man was stabbed in the back and another was beaten with a metal bar in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of At-Tur Friday as they walked among of group of people headed for Friday evening prayers at a nearby yeshiva.
The incident was first reported as a suspected terror attack but police later said it began as an altercation between the group of Jewish youths and a group of Arab youths, which then deteriorated into a brawl.
Border Police forces who arrived at the scene dispersed the fight, but did not make any arrests. The forces then escorted the Jewish youths to the yeshiva, according to a police statement.
“A group of Jewish worshipers were attacked as they walked…to Beit Horot,” a police statement said earlier, referring to the yeshiva set up on the Mount of Olives by right-wing rabbi Benny Elon in 1999.
Magen David Adom paramedics said a man, 24, was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital with a cut on his back and a 21-year-old man sustained head injuries.
Police were sweeping the area for the perpetrators.
The attack came three days after five Israelis were killed in a terror attack at a synagogue in the capital’s Har Nof neighborhood. Four of the victims were shot and hacked to death while at prayer while the fifth victim, a Druze policeman who tried to stop the killings, was shot in the head and later died of his wounds.
Earlier Friday, several riots were reported throughout the West Bank following weekly sermons.
Around 350 Palestinians demonstrated in Hebron, Israel Radio reported. Rioters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with non-lethal means to disperse the protesters.
Another hundred people demonstrated and attacked security forces near Nablus, where soldiers used rubber bullets and other means to quell the mob. Three Palestinians were lightly injured there and evacuated to hospital in Nablus.
In Kalandiya, north of Jerusalem, several dozen Palestinians rioted. One man was said lightly injured by a rubber bullet fired by security forces.
Small riots of several dozen protesters were also reported in two locations near Ramallah and another near Qalqilya.
Prayers in the Temple Mount ended peacefully, with around 40,000 Muslim worshipers attending the weekly sermon, Israel Radio reported.
Israeli police had said earlier that they would not bar young Muslim worshipers from Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, despite a week of spiraling violence in the city including a Palestinian terror attack on a synagogue.
It was the second week running that the restrictions were lifted at the flashpoint Temple Mount compound after months of limited entry.
“So far, restrictions on entry of worshippers will not be imposed,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement late Thursday.
Israel eased restrictions at Temple Mount last week after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced agreement on steps to reduce tensions in talks in neighboring Jordan, which has custodial rights at the compound.
The site, which is holy to Jews as well as Muslims, has been the focus of months of unrest in East Jerusalem, that has spread to the West Bank and Arab communities across Israel, and raised fears of a new Palestinian uprising.
Clashes at the compound are usually led by younger Palestinian men, some of whom earlier this month hurled rocks and firecrackers at police who entered the compound and chased them to the entrance of the mosque.
In recent weeks, police have tried to preempt unrest by limiting male entry to those over 35 and in the past have barred those under 50.
Police said Thursday they had arrested five Arab-Israelis on suspicion of smuggling into Israel thousands of fireworks, knives and other weapons destined for Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
They said that two containers which arrived by sea from China were marked “Christmas decorations” for delivery to the Beit Hanina neighborhood.