Shin Bet makes arrests as violence continues in Israel’s mixed cities

Written by on May 16, 2021

Violence between Jews and Arabs continued across Israel Saturday night and Sunday as police and Fire and Rescue services struggled to respond to the volume of incidents.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in cooperation with Israel Police arrested dozens of suspects in the past few days accused of attacking Israeli citizens, the agency announced Sunday morning. Multiple suspects are currently being questioned by the Shin Bet in relation to these incidents.

A resident of southern Israel was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of setting up and running multiple groups on social media, in which calls were made to perform violent acts against Arab citizens across Israel, as retribution for rising violence in cities with a largely mixed Jewish and Arab population. 

He is being interrogated by Israel’s elite anti-corruption police unit Lahav 433. 

Multiple extremist whatsapp and Telegram groups were reported to the police for encouraging violence against Israeli Arabs prior to riots in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam on Thursday, where Jewish extremists marched down main streets, smashing Arab-owned businesses and while chanting “death to Arabs” and “may your village burn.”

17:00. בת ים. בטיילת. בקבוצת טלגרם בשם ‘מחזירים מלחמה – ביפו’. התארגנות אלימה. מישהו מעלה תמונה של סכין. מקווה שתהיה שם משטרה.

— למוטט את שלטון אורי קול (@orikol) May 13, 2021

One motorist – identified as an Arab – was grabbed in the middle of the street and assaulted by dozens of people on live television, in what Kan News described as a “live lynching.” Four of the alleged attackers were arrested.

Also on Sunday, four residents of Wadi Ara, all in their ealry twenties, were indicted in Haifa for allegedly throwing rocks and assaulting police officers.

Israeli police arrested two residents of Jisr e-Zarka, a northern coastal town just above Caesarea, on suspicion of making Molotov cocktails and throwing stones, Israel Police reported in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police confiscated clubs, bullets, Molotov cocktails and fireworks in Lod as 6 people were arrested Saturday night. Riots involving hundreds of people continued nightly in the city last week, although the scale of the gatherings has been much smaller Friday and Saturday night, according to Israel Police.

Israel Border Police also seized 15 Molotov cocktails on Saturday that were being hidden in a mosque in Lod in preparation for use in riots later that night, officials stated.

Three residents of Silwan were arrested in Jerusalem Sunday morning, as crowds gathered and attempted to prevent police from arresting two residents of the Jerusalem neighborhood suspected of an attack earlier this week.

An additional 15 Jerusalem Old City residents were arrested Saturday night, suspected of being involved in disturbances of the peace in the past week.

An attempted shooting attack took place near the Bani Naim Junction in the Judea council this morning, according to the IDF. The IDF is in pursuit of the attackers and no injuries were reported.

An IDF soldier was lightly injured and at least two Palestinians were killed by IDF gunfire in clashes in the West Bank on Saturday night, amid continuing tensions surrounding Gaza and Jerusalem. According to the Red Crescent, over 500 Palestinians sustained injuries from clashes, according to Palestinian media.

A firefight broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces near the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem on Saturday night as well, according to Palestinian reports. So far no injuries have been reported.

On Saturday night, Palestinian media reported that a Palestinian was seriously injured on the Temple Mount in a confrontation with Israeli security forces. The Palestinian was transferred to a hospital for further treatment.

Border Police clashed with Palestinians in a number of locations near Jerusalem on Saturday night, including Rachel’s Tomb and the Shuafat neighborhood, with over 250 rioters throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs at security forces.

Some 30 fires were started in the West Bank as the result of Molotov cocktails, burning tires and other disturbances to the peace, Israel Fire and Rescue Services reported Sunday.

Firefighters took cover Saturday as fireworks were fired at them and Molotov cocktails were thrown at them, according to Fire and Rescue Services.

In Jaffa, two Arab children were burnt, one severely, when a petrol bomb was thrown into their residence in the Ajami neighborhood Friday night. The boy was still in serious condition Sunday, unconcious and ventilated.

Jeremy Sharon and Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.

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