Dozens of right wing activists and Jewish Home party officials packed a Jerusalem light rail train car Tuesday night as it traveled through the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina in protest of the near-daily riots and incidents of violence experienced throughout the capital, including along the light rail’s route, over the past few weeks.
The activists, mostly teenaged girls, called for “revenge” against the Palestinians, in an apparent reference to a terror attack last Wednesday in which a resident of East Jerusalem plowed his car into a crowd of people at a light rail stop, killing two, including a three-month-old girl.
Tensions in Jerusalem have been high since June, when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed by Hamas-affiliated terrorists in the West Bank. Alleged Jewish terrorists retaliated by kidnapping and killing a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem.
Riots flared up throughout Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods, with protesters frequently hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at police and vandalizing the city’s light rail system.
On Monday, rioters threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli border police officers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, known in Hebrew as the City of David, near the home of nine Jewish families who recently moved into the predominantly Arab area.
There were no reports of injuries in the attack. Security forces detained one suspect for throwing stones while searches continued for others involved in the incident.
Silwan has seen several consecutive days of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police officers amid the spiraling tensions in the capital.
Israel has beefed up its police forces in the city to quell the violence and officials have vowed a crackdown on the rioters.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the riots in Jerusalem on “Islamic extremists” and promised to restore order.
Netanyahu said Jerusalem would be reinforced with some 1,000 policemen, special forces and troops from the Border Police, as days of violent protests gave way to fears that a funeral for Wednesday’s terrorist, who was killed by a policeman as he fled the scene of the attack, would lead to more riots.
Police deployed “at least 400-500″ extra police “to prevent and respond to any incident,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Sunday.
The head of the police operations unit said Saturday that 2,000 troops would be maintained in the capital, with 1,000 tasked with quelling the unrest, the news site NRG reported.
Adiv Sterman and Lazar Berman contributed to this report.