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Cop hurt in East Jerusalem clashes during Ramadan

Police say suspect arrested for attacking officer; rioting reportedly broke out over ban on sitting on stairs outside Damascus Gate during Muslim holy month

Israeli police clash with Palestinians outside the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem's Old City, April 15, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
Israeli police clash with Palestinians outside the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem's Old City, April 15, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Fresh clashes between police and Muslim worshipers broke out Thursday night in East Jerusalem, amid tensions surrounding the holy month of Ramadan.

Police said that during rioting in Jerusalem’s Old City, rocks and glass bottles were thrown at officers, one of whom was attacked while dispersing rioters at Herod’s Gate. The officer sustained a head injury that required medical care, according to police, who said a suspect was arrested.

Video published by the Kan public broadcaster appeared to show a man grappling with an officer before shoving him to the ground. The man then runs from the area as another cop briefly gives chase.

“The police deployment in the area continues,” a police statement said.

According to the Ynet news site, the rioting began after police barred people from sitting on the stairs outside the Damascus Gate, as part of coronavirus restrictions during Ramadan.

It was the third straight night of clashes in the area.

The month of Ramadan normally sees increased tensions around Jerusalem’s Old City, which houses the flashpoint Temple Mount site, holy to both Jews and Muslims.

Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, COGAT, said Tuesday that up to 10,000 vaccinated Palestinians will be allowed to pray Friday at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount to mark the first Friday of Ramadan.

“The measures are being taken to allow freedom of worship and religion on one hand, and on the other hand, prevent to the extent possible, the spread of COVID-19 in the region,” COGAT said in a statement.

After Friday, “an additional situation assessment will be carried out to examine the approved outline, taking into account both security and health needs.”

Palestinians visit the Temple Mount compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City of Jerusalem, ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, on April 10, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Tensions are also soaring in East Jerusalem over concerns Israel will prevent the area from being included in the national Palestinian legislative elections scheduled for next month. Israel cracks down on Palestinian Authority activity inside Jerusalem, considering it a violation of Israeli sovereignty in its capital.

Fatah and other Palestine Liberation Organization factions said Monday that there would be no Palestinian elections without the participation of East Jerusalem Palestinians.

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