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Masked rioters, police clash anew in Jerusalem

Protesters hurl petrol bombs at Border Police in Jabel Mukaber and Isawiyah; bus driver lightly hurt when vehicle pelted by stones

Israeli Border Police patrol a street in Jabel Mukaber after clashes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood on September 18, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Israeli Border Police patrol a street in Jabel Mukaber after clashes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood on September 18, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Dozens of masked rioters clashed with Israeli police officers in Jerusalem on Friday night, after a day of violence in the capital that left three members of the Border Police wounded and several protesters arrested.

The rioters threw petrol bombs, fireworks and stones at Border Police officers stationed in the Jabel Mukaber and Isawiyah neighborhoods, Israel’s Walla website reported, adding that there had been no injuries.

A bus driver was lightly hurt Friday evening when his vehicle came under a hail of stones in Hizma, north of Jerusalem. Stones were also thrown at vehicles on the central highway in the West Bank, Channel 2 television said.

Fire bombs were also hurled at a IDF Home Front Command base near Mount Scopus. Four firefighting units were called to the base after a blaze broke out as a result.

Firefighters battle a blaze caused by a fire bomb at an IDF base near Mount Scopus on Friday, September 18, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Firefighters battle a blaze caused by a fire bomb at an IDF base near Mount Scopus on Friday, September 18, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

“At great personal risk, we managed, with great effort, to halt the fire and prevent serious damage to the nearby base,” said the chief firefighter. Two fires broke out elsewhere in the capital after fire bombs were thrown by protesters.

Also Friday night, a rocket fired from Gaza struck open land in a residential area of the southern town of Sderot. There were no injuries reported, although there was some damage to property. Later Friday, Iron Dome intercepted a rocket over Ashkelon.

Israel Police said that a bus was damaged in the Sderot rocket strike, and the Ynet website reported that a home was also damaged. The residents were inside at the time of the strike, Ynet said, adding that several people were treated at the scene for shock. One woman was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after complaining of chest pains and ringing in her ears, the website reported.

Earlier in the day, rioters threw a petrol bomb at a Border Police vehicle in Jabel Mukaber, wounding three policemen. The police fired into the air and at the rioters who threw the petrol bomb. Three people were arrested, including one person who had been injured in the incident.

Israel restricted entry to the Temple Mount for Friday prayers, only granting admission to men over the age of 40 and women. Hundreds of Palestinians protested outside the Damascus Gate, while clashes occurred in other areas of the city as well as in the West Bank.

In Jerusalem, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters pelted them with stones in neighborhoods around the Mount of Olives, including in Shuafat refugee camp.

In the West Bank, the Red Crescent said three Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire at Kafr Kaddum near Nablus, while youths hurled projectiles at police near Ofer prison, the Qalandiya checkpoint and Jalazun refugee camp.

Friday’s clashes follow days of unrest in Jerusalem, sparked Sunday when police, acting on information from the Shin Bet security service, raided the Temple Mount and found pipe bombs and other improvised weapons, apparently prepared in advance for an organized riot.

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