Police arrest 33 suspected of instigating Temple Mount riots
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Police arrest 33 suspected of instigating Temple Mount riots

Overnight raids in East Jerusalem neighborhoods round up key figures who police say fueled violent protests

Police arrest a protester during clashes at the Old City of Jerusalem's Lions Gate on July 27, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Police arrest a protester during clashes at the Old City of Jerusalem's Lions Gate on July 27, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Police arrested in raids overnight Sunday 33 men suspected of playing key roles in recent violent demonstrations against Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Officers and border guards, equipped with arrest warrants, raided homes in East Jerusalem and detained the suspects for questioning, police said in a statement.

Seven were minors aged between 13 and 17, police said.

Raids took place in A Tur, the Shuafat refugee camp, Beit Hanina, Wadi Joz, Ras Al Amud, Issawiya, and the Old City.

The detainees are suspected of taking part in riots and endangering lives, the statement said.

Following questioning they will be brought before a court to have their detention extended.

Police said that by using a combination of groundwork, intelligence-gathering, documentation, and “sophisticated use of technologies” they were able to identify major instigators of violent rioting.

During the rioting dozens of suspects gathered in a number of locations and threw stones, glass bottles and Molotov cocktails, set dumpsters alight, blocked roads, and launched firecrackers at security forces.

A number of officers were injured during the rioting, police said.

“The Israel police takes a serious view of efforts to riot with the aim of shaping reality and to influence decision making, and will not allow it,” the statement said.

Israel installed new security measures at the Temple Mount following a July 14 terror attack in which three Arab-Israelis shot dead two police officers using weapons smuggled into the site. The move led to almost two weeks of unrest from East Jerusalem and West Bank Palestinians in protest of the changes.

Protesters boycotted prayer at the site until the metal detectors and other security measures were removed and held mass prayers daily outside the Old City, which sometimes devolved into violent clashes with security forces.

Police clash with Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
Police clash with Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount on July 27, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

The new security measures at the Temple Mount were also cited as the motivation in a pair of terror attacks, including a fatal stabbing in the West Bank settlement of Halamish.

Israel rolled back the security measures last week in a bid to calm tensions under intense pressure from the Arab world and the international community.

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