Police contain rioting in East Jerusalem following surge of violence

Tensions remain high in capital as public awaits autopsy report of Palestinian teen.

Palestinian protesters take cover during clashes with Israel Police in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz September 7, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian protesters take cover during clashes with Israel Police in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz September 7, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following several incidents of rock throwing in east Jerusalem neighborhoods Monday, police were largely able to quell much of the Arab rioting that engulfed east Jerusalem Sunday night after a teen’s family claimed he died from a wound inflicted by police.
The rioting began shortly after news that Muhammad Abd Al-Majid Sunuqrut, 16, died Sunday at Hadassah University Medical Center from a head wound that his parents allege he sustained from a police sponge bullet during an August 31 riot in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz.
According to his father, Sunuqrut was not participating in the riot. However, police contend that the teen was shot in the leg after he threw rocks at officers, and subsequently fell and hit his head on the ground upon attempting to flee the scene.
Sunday night’s violence appeared to peak when a mob of masked Arabs from Isawiya targeted a nearby French Hill petrol station, which they attempted to burn down with fire bombs.
“The main incident last night happened when dozens of Palestinians from Isawiya came from the village and tried to burn down [the petrol station] with Molotov cocktails,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“The Arab workers there fled the scene for their personal safety, and police and firefighters arrived to put out the flames and force the rioters back into Isawiya.”
Rosenfeld said that police did not make any arrests Sunday night because an emphasis was placed on containing the violence, noting that arrests would have further enflamed the volatile situation.
On Monday he said police are examining surveillance footage taken from the petrol station’s security cameras and will make arrests shortly. No injuries were reported there following the arson attempt.
Meanwhile, one Israeli sustained a light wound later Sunday night in the northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur when Arabs threw rocks at his vehicle. Wadi Joz saw a similar scene unfold, as residents hurled rocks and firecrackers at police, causing damage to a vehicle, resulting in the hospitalization of the driver, who sustained light wounds.
Additionally, the light rail in the northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat was again the target of rock attacks, resulting in suspended service in the area, which has become a flashpoint for violence since the July slaying of Muhammad Abu Khdeir allegedly by three Jewish nationalists.
While there were a number of rock-throwing incidents in Isawiya and Ras el-Amud in east Jerusalem Sunday, Rosenfeld said police were able to largely contain remaining unrest.
Sunuqrut’s death came roughly one week after emergency surgery for his head wound. A hospital official would not confirm the nature of his head trauma, other than stating that he had internal bleeding.
Shortly after the teen’s death, the corpse was transferred to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute for an autopsy to be conducted by a Palestinian doctor, with an Arab attorney present. It is not known when the results will be announced to the public.
In the meantime, Rosenfeld said, police will remain on high alert throughout the eastern portion of the capital to ensure calm is restored.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.