Following months of violent riots in parts of East Jerusalem, Police Chief Yohanan Danino announced Tuesday he would establish a special unit assigned with quelling the ongoing unrest in the capital.
Speaking during a ceremony at Police’s Central Command headquarters, Danino said he and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch were determined to bring an end to the riots.
The capital, and the city’s light rail train system in particular, has faced disruptions as a result of vandalism and riots that have erupted sporadically since the brutal killing of 16-year-old Shuafat resident Muhammed Abu Khdeir in early July, allegedly by Jewish extremists avenging the killings of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank a month earlier.
Frequent occurrences of rock and firebomb throwing at the light rail have damaged cars and left some of them unfit for use.
There have also been frequent riots on the Temple Mount, where Muslim protesters have demonstrated against Jewish visits to the site, clashing with police on several occasions.
Hundreds of East Jerusalem residents have been arrested by police in a series of crackdowns.
Following the death of another East Jerusalem teen, Mohammed Sinokrot, shot by police during a demonstration in late August, Aharonovitch pledged that Jerusalem’s security forces would get reinforcements to combat the rise in violence in the city’s eastern neighborhoods.
Danino and Aharonovitch recently agreed on a reshuffling of top police positions, including a new commander for the Jerusalem district, brought on by the sudden resignation of two senior policemen amid a wave of reports alleging corruption and misdoings in the force’s upper ranks.