Palestinians clash with police in East Jerusalem over death of fireworks shooter

Israeli forces said to raid mourning tent to confiscate posters of Mohammad Samir Obeid, whose body has been held since Thursday; 6 arrested, 2 police officers lightly injured

Fireworks being shot at police in Shuafat, East Jerusalem, in a video published on June 30, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Fireworks being shot at police in Shuafat, East Jerusalem, in a video published on June 30, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Palestinian protesters clashed with police in East Jerusalem late Saturday and early Sunday amid simmering anger after officers killed a man who launched fireworks at them in the area on Thursday.

Rioters launched fireworks at police and hurled stones and Molotov cocktails to protest the shooting death of Mohammad Samir Obeid, who was killed Thursday after shooting fireworks at police, according to Israeli authorities.

Six people were arrested and two police officers were lightly injured in the clashes, Channel 12 news reported.

Much of the unrest was centered around the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, which has seen nightly fighting since last week, and the nearby Shuafat neighborhood and refugee camp of the same name.

Clashes were also reported in the neighborhood of Silwan, outside of the Old City.

On Friday, at least 80 protesters suffered light injuries in widespread rioting over the death of 20-year-old Mohammad Samir Obeid, who was shot by police Thursday night during an arrest operation there.

According to police, officers opened fire when Obeid launched fireworks at them from a close range, putting their lives in danger. Authorities have refused to release his body

According to the Ma’an Palestinian news outlet, police on Saturday night raided a mourning tent put up by Obeid’s family in Issawiya and confiscated a poster of him.

Video published online showed officers protesters throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers in riot gear, who were dragging what was reported to be a poster of Obeid out of Issawiya.

Other videos showed rioters also shooting fireworks at officers, and damage to a light rail train which runs through Shuafat.

According to Ma’an, police responded to the rioters with rubber bullets.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli authorities..

On Friday night, a community center in Issawiya that often coordinates with Israeli authorities was burned down in an apparent protest of Obeid’s death and Israel’s refusal to hand his body over for burial.

A Jerusalem court on Friday reportedly rejected a request to release Obeid’s body to his family.

During the Friday hearing, police recommended to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that his body not be released, as a public funeral might ignite further violent clashes in the area, the Haaretz daily reported.

The court accepted the position, but gave police two days to announce when they would release Obeid’s body, which is being held at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv.

Palestinians are arrested during clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Issawiya, June 28, 2019, a day after a Palestinian was shot and killed by police during a protest in the same neighborhood. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Police in recent weeks have reportedly been entering Issawiya on a nightly basis in a bid to track down members of a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror cell believed to be at large in the neighborhood. The police operations have led to regular clashes with local residents.

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