The crime scene in Jerusalem's Geula neighborhood has turned into a battleground between police and haredim. A few dozen ultra-Orthodox people threw stones at police officers dispatched to the hostel on Tsfaniya Street, where a 50-year-old man was murdered Sunday night during a fight. The protesters tried to block removal of the murdered man's body from the scene.
In the Mea Shearim neighborhood intense clashes broke out between the two sides. Haredim threw stones and metal objects at police officers, who responded with stun grenades. Eight police officers and an ultra-Orthodox man were lightly wounded. Three police officers were evacuated to the hospital for medical attention. The rest of the wounded were treated by ambulance crews on the spot. Damage was caused to a police patrol car and two motorcycles.
Haredim started fires at a number of different locations throughout the city. A police cruiser was set ablaze on David Yellin Street. The cruiser was parked there as its police passengers investigated Sunday's murder. Police believe that haredi protesters are behind the arson. No one was injured in the incident.
Haredim tried to set fire to the welfare bureau on Yehezkel Street, however, a police force on site prevented this. A haredi man was arrested while throwing stones at the welfare bureau building.
Police investigation of the murder has thus far revealed that the scuffle between the 23-year-old Palestinian who lives in the West Bank and works in the hostel and the 50-year-old Jewish victim was not nationalistically motivated. The two had reportedly been arguing since morning hours and the dispute boiled over in the evening when the Palestinian, who works at the hostel, allegedly stabbed the Jewish man in the back, chest and abdomen, multiple times.
The suspect, who fled the scene, was apprehended by Border Guard officers operating north of the capital.
Ongoing battle between haredim and police
The ultra-Orthodox struggle against the police was bumped up in recent days. Earlier Sunday, haredim gathered in Mea Shearim to protest against the welfare bureau's cooperation with the police in the investigation of the haredi woman charged with starving her toddler son.
During the protest, they damaged a security vehicle parked near the welfare bureau. The vehicle's mirrors were smashed and tires slashed. Police were dispatched to the location to help the security company's employee leave the scene with the car.
On Saturday, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox demonstrated and attempted to block the entrance to the Karta parking lot in the city. The protestors blocked adjacent streets and confronted police forces which tried to prevent them from reaching the parking lot. Eleven of the detainees were released on Sunday with court restrictions, but following an appeal filed by local police, the court ordered that the detainees' remand be extended by 24 hours.