Jerusalem, Sep 21 (IANS) Israeli security forces on Monday arrested dozens of Palestinians in east Jerusalem for “rioting”, in the largest raid since clashes broke out over the city’s most sensitive holy site last week.
“In an overnight operation in east Jerusalem, police arrested 21 Palestinians suspected for disturbance,” Xinhua news agency quoted a police spokesperson as saying.
The official Palestinian new agency WAFA reported that 19 of those detained were minors.
Hundreds of policemen were deployed near the Palestinian neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem after a week of repeated clashes between Palestinians and the police, Jerusalem District Police Commander, Brigadier General Avshalom Peled said.
He said most of the violence is not directed at civilians but at the police. “Most of the incidents of stone throwing and Molotov cocktail throwing occur against security forces,” Peled said.
The incidents are being “contained and handled within east Jerusalem”, he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said measures against Palestinian stone-throwers in Jerusalem will be toughened, including new rules allowing live sniper fire against them, heavier penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.
The wave of Palestinian unrest began on September 13 as Israeli security forces stormed in the al-Aqsa mosque compound to prevent Palestinian youth from harassing far-right Jews, who wished to visit the site on the occasion of the Jewish New Year.