Israel arrests 33 east Jerusalem residents over Temple Mount clashes
Ahmad GHARABLI (AFP)
Israel's police and border police raided homes across east Jerusalem overnight Sunday arresting 33 people, including minors, on suspicion of involvement in violent clashes between protesters and Israeli forces that erupted during a tense standoff over the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site.
All suspects, the youngest of whom was 13-years-old, were taken in for questioning after which they will face hearings to remand their detention.
Raids took place in several east Jerusalem neighborhoods, including Tur, Shuafat, Beit Hanina, Wadi Joz, Ras al-Amud, Isawiya and the Old City.
"We arrested the core group of rioters who took an active part in the violent riots directed against the security forces," police said, according to Haaretz, adding that protesters blocked roads and threw Molotov cocktails, stones, and other objects at security forces during demonstrations.
Israel's decision to install metal detectors outside the Temple Mount's nine gates following a shooting attack there, in which two police officers were killed, led Muslim worshipers to boycott the site with protests devolving into clashes on multiple occasions.
At least five Palestinian protesters were killed during clashes, and three Israelis were stabbed to death in the West Bank settlement of Halamish in a retaliatory attack.
The metal detectors were eventually dismantled after Israel's security cabinet accepted the recommendations of the country's security services to deploy technologically advanced video technology instead.
Indictments were also filed on Monday against five east Jerusalem residents for incitement against Israel after they took to social media to praise the shooting attack which sparked the two-week crisis.
According to the indictments the five suspects, one of whom is a minor, will be charged with offenses including incitement, calling for terror attacks to be carried out against Israel.
The prosecution has requested that they be denied bail.
The charges came following Facebook posts which praised the three Israel-Arab gunmen from the village of Umm al-Fahm who carried out the July 14 attack.
One of the suspects, 19-year-old Muhammad Mukhiemer from Anata was previously charged in 2014 for inciting violence and terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces, as well as for online support for terror organizations, including Hamas.
Following the attack at Temple Mount, Mukhiemer wrote on Facebook: "They thought that the heroes were ancient, but still they live. They humiliated them in the alleys, the entrances and at the gates. Friday of the martyrs."
Another suspect, 21-year-old Seyf Abu Juma’a from A-Tur called for further attacks.
"With rocks, with knives, with axes, with Molotov cocktails and lighters… Three martyrs left Umm al-Fahm … and we will follow in their footsteps. We were raised for a holy death," he wrote.
Three more suspects, Sufyan Mahmoud, 26, from Issawiya, Mohammed Shamasana, 23, from the Shuafat refugee camp, and a 17-year-old minor, were all charged with offenses including encouraging violence and terror against civilians and security forces and supporting terror organizations.
Israel considers strong anti-Israeli messages in Palestinian education to be one of the stumbling blocks for a peaceful resolution of the long-standing conflict.
They have sought to crack down on online incitement in recent months.
The Temple Mount holy site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, has been at the center of tensions before, with a visit to the Temple Mount by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 helping spark the Second Intifada, which lasted nearly five years.
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