Jerusalem | Clashes between Israeli police forces and Palestinian protesters left more than 100 injured overnight in Jerusalem, medical and police sources said Friday morning.
The Palestinian Red Crescent has reported at least 105 wounded, of which around 20 have been transferred to hospital, while the police added that they identified 20 wounded in its ranks and arrested 44 people in the clashes, the most violent in recent years in the Holy City.
The clashes erupted after Israeli police were mobilized to frame a march organized by the far-right Jewish movement Lahava, a group openly hostile to Palestinians, at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.
The security forces had deployed hundreds of police and cavalry near the Damascus gate and in neighboring districts, in order, according to them, to protect “freedom of expression” and the “right to demonstrate”.
But this demonstration by the Lahava group – some of whose members shouted “Death to the Arabs”, according to witnesses – was seen as a provocative gesture and led to clashes with Palestinians returning from the nightly Ramadan prayer at the plaza. Mosques.
Young Palestinians staged a counter-demonstration to oppose the march, and incidents broke out at the entrance to the Old City, located in the eastern part of Jerusalem annexed by the Hebrew state, and continued in the night.
An AFP photographer saw streets ablaze on the outskirts of the Old Town while witnesses shared images of fierce clashes on social media.
Incidents had already erupted in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Videos relayed on social networks and by local media showed Arab employees working in shops in downtown Jerusalem and journalists being violently assaulted by young Jews shouting “Death to the Arabs”.
In response, 70 people, Jews and Arabs, were arrested Wednesday and Thursday, and 64 of them had their custody extended, according to Israeli police.