Protesters clash with police in W. Bank

Border policeman lightly wounded in demonstration against Gaza op; violent protests held in E. J'lem.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
January 9, 2009 17:59
2 minute read.
Protesters clash with police in W. Bank

Nilin protest Border police 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )

As Israel's assault on Hamas in Gaza entered its third week, scores of Arab teens pelted Israeli police with stones and firebombs in scattered violent protests in east Jerusalem over the weekend, police said. In the most serious incident, six firebombs were hurled at police on Saturday night, including five in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya and one in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. There were no injuries reported in the incidents. Arabs teens set three garbage bins on fire Saturday night on a main thoroughfare in east Jerusalem, police said. Meanwhile, sporadic stone-throwing clashes occurred Friday at a couple of locations in east Jerusalem ahead of and after the midday Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount, police said. In a successful attempt to ward off riots and large-scale violence, police had restricted entrance to the holy site for the second week in a row. Violent protests against Israel's bruising attack on Hamas in Gaza have largely petered off in east Jerusalem after the first week of the operation, but sporadic clashes continue, and police in the city remain on a heightened state of alert. In the North, Amakim Police arrested six youths for a number of rock- throwing incidents. In Nazareth Illit, officers pursued and apprehended two suspects aged 13 and 14 who threw rocks in the area. Earlier, police dispatched special patrol officers to the village of Kfar Kana after receiving reports of youths throwing rocks at passing vehicles on the main road. Four masked youths, aged 13, 16, 17, and 18 were arrested. Police have vowed to deal with public disturbances linked to the Gaza operation "in an uncompromising manner." Palestinians also held violent pro-Hamas demonstrations in various West Bank locations. A Border Police officer was lightly wounded when protesters hurled stones at him during a violent demonstration held in Ni'lin, Army Radio reported. Some 500 Palestinians and left-wing activists reportedly took part in the demonstration. Near Hebron, some 1,000 Palestinians reportedly held a demonstration in support of Hamas. The protesters hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at the border policemen. With the exception of the riots in Ni'lin, no civilians or policemen were wounded in the riots. The Border Police used stun grenades to disperse the violent demonstrations. The Defense Ministry imposed a general closure on the West Bank that began at midnight on Thursday and ended at midnight on Saturday. Various humanitarian workers, medical and other exceptional supplies were permitted to cross in and out of the area throughout the closure, the Defense Ministry said. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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