Israeli police arrested more than 50 people and Palestinian doctors said more than 100 were injured after the fierce clashes in the city of Jerusalem.
Violence erupted Thursday night from one of the entrances to the fortified Old City, when ultra-nationalist Israelis chanting “death to the Arabs” took to the streets and mounted police tried to separate them from a Palestinian counter-protest. young people throwing firecrackers.
Tensions have skyrocketed since the start of Ramadan on April 13, with Palestinians claiming police tried to stop them from holding their usual evening gatherings outside the Damascus Gate, a historic landmark on the north side of the city. Old, when they break their fast.
There was also a week of violent assaults against Arab-Israeli and Palestinian residents of central Jerusalem after videos appeared on the social media app TikTok purporting to show Palestinians assaulting ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Jerusalem area. Damascus Gate.
Thursday’s march was called by an anti-Arab group, Lehava, and saw hundreds of ultra-nationalist Israelis – many of them young and religious – marching through downtown Jerusalem chanting, “Death to the Arabs” and waving banners reading “death to terrorists”. “.
Police said they tried to enter the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem but was blocked by security forces.
Hundreds of Israeli police in riot gear sealed off the area to prevent rival parties from meeting, and later walked up and down Sultan Suleiman Street along the Old City walls spraying a foul-smelling liquid – known as skunk water – and gas. tear gas to disperse the crowd and arrest the protesters.
Palestinians dragged garbage cans into the streets and some small fireworks shot at the police.
Israeli police said they arrested more than 50 people overnight, without distinguishing between the number of Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian Red Crescent meanwhile said 100 Palestinians were injured in clashes with security forces, with 21 taken to hospital for treatment, although none of the injured were serious.
Israeli police defended the decision to clear the area from the Damascus Gate during Ramadan, saying the measure is part of their efforts to ensure that tens of thousands of Muslim faithful have safe access to the main Islamic prayer site in the city. Old.
“Since the Damascus Gate is the main route to reach and enter the Old City, the police forces carry out activities on the ground using various means to prevent friction, violence and clashes, and to maintain order and security in the area” , reads a police statement.
With additional reports from agencies