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Six arrested during 4th night of unrest – The Australian Jewish News



Police said six Palestinians were detained during clashes at the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday, as Palestinians gathered to celebrate Ramadan.

The suspects hurled stones and other items and launched fireworks at officers, police said.

It was the fourth night in a row of scuffles at Damascus Gate, an entrance to the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, a frequent point of friction and the site of many past terror attacks.

“Whoever chooses to disturb the order, riot, and engage in violence of any kind, harms first and foremost the large public of worshipers, merchants, and visitors, the vast majority of whom wished to celebrate Ramadan in peace and security, while maintaining freedom of worship,” police said in a statement.

“We will not allow those inciting and violent margins [of society] to disrupt order. We call on the public to mark the month of Ramadan legally, obey police instructions, and avoid violence and disturbances of any kind.”

Separately, police said officers dispersed a mass brawl that broke out in the area. No injuries were reported.

Israeli security forces have been on edge following a spate of deadly terror attacks that killed 11 people in Israel late last month. Authorities had also feared violence during Ramadan, often a period of unrest and high tension in the capital.

On Monday, eight Palestinians were detained during clashes at Damascus Gate for throwing objects at officers. Saturday and Sunday also saw some clashes and at least 14 arrests.

In the pre-dawn hours of last Saturday morning, three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group were killed and four Israeli troops injured during an arrest operation in the West Bank.

One of the Israelis, a senior officer, was severely injured and flown by helicopter to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. He underwent surgery, was hospitalised in intensive care and was in stable condition.

Three other troops were lightly hurt, including one who was released from the hospital later that morning, officials said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that the string of recent deadly terrorist attacks should serve as a wake-up call.

“The last two weeks, in which we have been dealing with severe terrorist attacks, are a wake-up call for all of us,” Bennett told reporters during a visit to an army outpost in the West Bank.

Bennett said that security officials are currently “operating in a very aggressive manner. So far, the IDF, the Shin Bet, and the Israel Police have foiled more than 15 serious attacks that were planned by terrorist elements in the West Bank and the rest of Israel.”

He said that more than 200 suspects have already been arrested and dozens of raids have been carried out, and more than 400 individuals with connections to Islamic State or other “extreme jihadist organisations” have been identified.

“It seems to me that there is no citizen in the State of Israel who does not feel the massive reinforcement of the police and security forces in the country,” Bennett said Tuesday. “The feeling of security is for us a very, very important goal.”

The Defence Ministry said Tuesday that some restrictions on West Bank Palestinian movement will be loosened for prayers for Ramadan, after the recent attacks raised the prospect of the gesture being canceled.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call on Tuesday night that the measures could be expanded further if the terror wave did not continue.

Kan news reported that Israel’s high-level security cabinet will convene on Sunday to discuss rising tensions with Palestinians and fears of violence during Ramadan. The meeting will be the second in under two weeks, after the cabinet had not met for months.

Bennett spoke on the phone with Jordan’s King Abdullah II last Sunday, with the two leaders discussing the importance of lowering tensions between Israelis and Palestinians during Ramadan.

It was the first phone call since Abdullah covertly hosted Bennett in Amman last July.

During the call, the king emphasised “the importance of achieving calm in order to avoid any escalation in the Palestinian territories,” a statement from the royal court said.

Abdullah called for “removing all obstacles to Muslim prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, particularly with the start of the holy month of Ramadan, and to prevent provocations that could lead to an escalation.”

Bennett’s office said in a statement that the premier “thanked the King of Jordan for his firm statement against the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Israel in recent days,” referring to the condemnation Abdullah issued during last week’s visit by President Isaac Herzog.

TIMES OF ISRAEL, AGENCIES

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