Police clash with rioters in Umm al-Fahm as violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque spreads

12 arrested as officers move to disperse march in northern city after rocks thrown at highway; disturbances also reported in several other Arab Israeli communities

In this screenshot of video from social media, rioters burn tires in the northern Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, April 6, 2023. (Screenshot/Twitter; Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
In this screenshot of video from social media, rioters burn tires in the northern Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, April 6, 2023. (Screenshot/Twitter; Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Police clashed late Wednesday with residents of the northern Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, in a spillover of violent tensions at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The rioting came as clashes erupted at the mosque for a second straight night and Palestinians terrorists in the Gaza Strip again fired rockets toward Israel, further stoking concerns of a broader flareup.

In Umm al-Fahm, hundreds took part in a solidarity march for Al-Aqsa, during which a number of rioters threw rocks at Route 65, according to police. Officers then moved to disperse the rally.

A unit of undercover cops was attacked at the scene after apparently being exposed, and one of them fired his weapon into the air to help them escape, police said.

Images from Umm al-Fahm showed rioters burning tires in the streets.

Other disturbances were reported in the Arab Israeli communities of Baqa al-Gharbiya, Arraba, Reineh, Kafr Kanna and Kafr Manda, as well as in the West Bank.

Police later said 12 people were arrested for the disturbances.

There were also riots near the Gaza border fence, with Palestinians burning tires and throwing improvised explosions in the direction of the border. IDF troops were working to disperse the rioters at the border, according to Army Radio.

The violence came as fresh fighting broke out at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Footage showed police in riot gear trying to make their way into the site as those inside hurled objects at them from within.

“Dozens of young people who were breaking the law, some of the masked, brought fireworks and stones into the mosque with the aim of disturbing public order in the area, and were desecrating the mosque,” police said in a statement.

Police said the Palestinians had closed the doors to the mosque and prevented worshipers from leaving, in order to barricade themselves inside.

“Police forces prevented the law-breakers from closing the doors and barricading themselves inside, and helped worshipers leave the mosque,” police said. “The rioters shouted incitement, shot fireworks, and threw objects at officers.”

The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and is revered as the location of both ancient Jewish temples. The compound is Islam’s third holiest site and is managed by Jordan, as part of a delicate arrangement with Israel.

Security officials had feared an escalation due to the Muslim Ramadan holiday, which often sees a spike in Israeli-Palestinian tensions, and coincides this year with Passover and Easter. Passover began on Wednesday evening. The first two weeks of Ramadan passed by relatively smoothly, before the clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque late Tuesday and subsequent violence.

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