Clashes erupted in Hebron on Thursday when a Palestinian mob joined Palestinian police in attacking IDF soldiers on routine patrol in the area, military sources said.
The Palestinian Authority police and the soldiers became involved in mutual pushing, and one of the Palestinian officers threw a punch, military sources said.
Soldiers used stun grenades to distance the PA officers. At that stage, a 250-strong crowd rapidly formed and began rioting and throwing rocks, before being dispersed by the small IDF unit.
“This is a serious incident. It is being investigated by the army,” an IDF spokeswoman said.
The incident occurred in the H1 area of Hebron, a section of the city that is under PA control.
Army sources said the fact that Palestinian police confronted an IDF patrol is a worrying development.
The IDF has refused to disclose further details due to the ongoing investigation.
A PA security officer in Hebron denied that Palestinian policemen had attacked soldiers.
The officer said the incident began when IDF soldiers tried to arrest an off-duty PA policeman in the center of the city. The policeman claimed the soldiers stopped him after he tried to prevent them from assaulting residents.
According to the PA officer, “Residents who were at the scene tried to stop the soldiers from arresting and harassing the policeman.” The officer said that the soldiers responded with tear gas and live and rubber bullets, wounding 23 Palestinians.
“The Palestinian police did not attack the Israeli army,” the PA officer stressed. “This was a clash between residents and the Israeli army. The policeman was only trying to prevent the soldiers from assaulting the residents.”
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency said five Palestinians were injured in the disturbances and taken to a Hebron hospital.