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Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich was accompanied by Jerusalem Police Chief Yossi Pariente and other senior Israel Police commanders during an erev Rosh Hashanah morning visit to Har Habayis. They were attacked with fireworks as they entered the Mughrabi Gate area.
Yassam and border police troops moved in and pushed the attackers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, then locking them inside. However as this effort was underway police realized the attackers were prepared and they had blockades in place near the mosque along with a supply of stones and blocks, which they began hurling at police. A number of policemen were injured before they locked the attackers in the mosque to permit the minister and his entourage to continue inspecting security preparations on Har Habayis.
Aharonovich explained hundreds of suspects were arrested in the past month in Yerushalayim during stepped-up police efforts to halt Arab attacks and vandalism. He explained as a result of the effort firebomb and rock-throwing attacks are down 30%.
Police report they stand prepared for the continuation of slichos and Sukkos, during which many more Jewish visitors are expected on Har Habayis.
Elsewhere in Yerushalayim on erev Rosh Hashanah, police arrested a nine-year-old Arab boy in Maale Zeitim after he threw rocks at a Jewish driver. The boy’s parents were summoned by police and social services was notified.
Since the abduction and murder of 16-year-old Arab Jerusalem resident Abu el-Khadir in beginning of July there has been a marked increase in Arab violence and attacks, including repeating attacks and vandalism against the Jerusalem light rail.
Last week police began Operation Teshuvah, focusing on arresting Arab law-breakers involved in attacks. Since the beginning of that operation 62 arrests were made for disturbances. 41 of those arrested as minors including 11 children under the age of 12. All the children were involved in rock-throwing attacks. Their parents were summoned and warned and files were opened with social services.
Since the beginning of July, 762 arrests were made in the Jerusalem district for disturbances and rioting including 281 minors. 250 criminal indictments have been filed.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)