Panicked Jerusalemites report 'gunshots,' turn out to be fireworks - WATCH

Eight people detained by police in recent days for violations

Wadi al-Joz in east Jerusalem (photo credit: V_KATSON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Wadi al-Joz in east Jerusalem
(photo credit: V_KATSON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Jerusalem residents awoke on Saturday – or were woken up by – to a nonstop rat-a-tat of what a could have been a fierce gun battle.
The noise began around  8 a.m., continuing at a steady pace for the next three hours and sporadically throughout the rest of the day.
Thousands of Jerusalemites called police operators concerned about the “gunshots” they were hearing across the city. The Secret Jerusalem Facebook page was full of posts by concerned writers asking if the city was under attack.
Fireworks go off in East Jerusalem neighborhoods to celebrate the end of exams (Video Credit: Yair Feinstein)

What set them into near panic mode turned out not to be nefarious but celebratory – fireworks set off by residents of  Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods in celebration of high school students receiving their final exam grades. Thousands of students received their grades via sms at 8 a.m. setting off the pyrotechnics.
Igniting fireworks on the day of the publication of the high school exam (tawjihi) results is not an uncommon occurrence in east Jerusalem and often continues throughout the day until nightfall. However, the frequency of Saturday’s celebration was unusual and shattered the Shabbat calm for thousands of Jerusalem’s Jewish residents.
Graduating students in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have also been known to celebrate this day with fireworks and even by firing guns into the air, a practice that both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza have been working to reduce in recent years.
According to the Israel Police, eight people were detained in recent days for firework violations. Police say they found dozens of fireworks on the suspects.
“Police have been operating throughout east Jerusalem in recent days for the purpose of detecting, preventing and arresting the people igniting fireworks in violation of the law, and have so far arrested eight suspects from whom dozens of fireworks have been seized,” a spokesperson for Israel Police said following Saturday morning’s incidents.