Police optimistic as calm holds in J’lem

Tense quiet in capital after scores of arrests, injuries during ‘Day of Rage’.

By ABE SELIG, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
March 18, 2010 02:59
2 minute read.
Palestinian stone throwers, some of them carrying

issawiya hamas flag arab riot 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

A tense quiet held over Jerusalem on Wednesday, after a Hamas-declared “Day of Rage” saw 15 members of the security forces wounded and scores of Palestinian rioters arrested during widespread clashes that erupted throughout the eastern parts of the capital on Tuesday.

Police reported calm on all fronts throughout the day Wednesday, although a firebomb had been thrown at a Border Patrol jeep in the A-Tur neighborhood of east Jerusalem in early hours of the morning.

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The jeep caught fire and sustained significant damage although no injuries were reported in the attack.

Two A-tur residents were later arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack, although police said they believed the incident had been the finale in a string of violent flare-ups that had occurred throughout the previous day.

Nonetheless, thousands of police, border patrol officers and special forces remained deployed in the Old City and throughout east Jerusalem Wednesday amid fears that similar rioting would again break out in the capital.

While intelligence sources estimated that the unrest would not resume, and the Temple Mount compound was re-opened to visitors on Wednesday after being closed to the general public for five days, police were waiting for further security assessments on Wednesday night before scaling back the beefed-up deployment of their forces.  Additionally, a closure on the West Bank that had been in effect for three days as a result of the heightened tensions was lifted overnight Tuesday.

Tuesday’s unrest saw hundreds of Palestinians, some of them masked, hurl rocks and set tires and garbage bins ablaze in east Jerusalem. On Tuesday night, a police officer from the elite Yasam unit was hit in the hand by a bullet after handgun fire was directed at him during operations in the Ras el-Amud neighborhood opposite the Old City.

Rioting also erupted in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, the east Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi Joz, Isawiya, the Shuafat refugee camp and Jebl Mukaber, among other locations.

Throughout the day, more than 60 rioters were arrested for throwing rocks, among other violations, and 15 policemen were wounded. Four of those officers were evacuated for medical treatment, while the rest were treated at the scene.

According to Palestinian reports, more than 100 people sustained injuries during the unrest. Palestinian medics said 10 people were seriously wounded, five from rubber bullets.


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