Police, firefighters are attacked after rescuing Arab family in capital

Jewish graves damaged in suspicious blaze on Mount of Olives.

September 2, 2015 18:31
1 minute read.
Israel Police

Israel Police logo. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Moments after saving a Arab family from a fire in Jerusalem’s Isawiya neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, police and firefighters were attacked by Arab locals throwing rocks.

Firefighters were notified of the blaze in a five-story apartment building in the flashpoint neighborhood on Mount Scopus shortly after 3 p.m., police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

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“Upon arriving at the scene, firefighters and police spotted a family trapped on the building’s roof attempting to get away from the fire and heavy smoke. They quickly cordoned off the area and rushed into the building to save the family,” Rosenfeld said.

The rescuers, preparing leave, were pelted with rocks by bystanders, he said. Although no one was wounded in the attack, the windshield of one police cruiser was shattered.

“Security assessments are being made by police after firefighters and police willingly risked their lives to make their way into the building to save lives, and unfortunately, were attacked by stones afterward,” he said, adding that police are searching the area for the attackers.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, two graves in the Mount of Olives cemetery, near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of a-Tur, were badly damaged by arson, Rosenfeld said.

“The suspects set a fire near the graves during the early morning hours, causing damage to two gravestones from the smoke and fire,” he said. “Police are using CCTV footage to search for the suspects.”

The cemetery – where four prophets, former prime minister Menachem Begin, Hebrew revivalist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and leaders of rabbinical dynasties are buried – has long been targeted by Arab teens who vandalize graves.

Chronic rock attacks there have resulted in many visitors being forced to retain security escorts provided by the Construction Ministry to visit grave sites of family and friends.

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