Large police forces were dispatched Sunday to the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights in order to help rescue several officers trapped in one of the houses.
The officers were extricated from the house uninjured after two hours, and Druze dignitaries and village leaders accompanied them as they left the scene. Though they had come to detain suspects, no arrests were made, and police refused to say why the officers had entered the house.
Two people were injured in the incident: A 40-year old man was taken to Ziv Hospital in Safed after sustaining light injuries to his eye, caused by glass fragments.
In addition, a 28-year old woman who sustained shock was brought to an emergency room in Kiryat Shmona. But residents initially reported that nine people had been injured, many of them from breathing tear gas.
Crowd dispersal means employed
The incident began when several officers, including some from the National Unit for International Crime, arrived at the village in order to conduct searches and arrests in one of the houses. The house's residents resisted and shortly thereafter several hundreds of people gathered outside the house. The mob quickly grew to some 1,500 people.
The family whose home was raided by the officers said they had entered the house at around 3 pm and began to search the rooms, without explaining why they had come in.
Family members were also angered by the fact that they entered when no men were at home, something the Druze consider lacking of respect.
Northern District Police chief Major-General Shimon Koren said, "The National Unit for International Crime entered to perform a search, during which hundreds of residents crowded around them. Apart from the special forces, additional backup is on its way to the scene. No injuries have been reported as of yet and we are in contact with local dignitaries in an effort to end the event."
One of the village residents told Ynet that crowd members tried to break into the house several times and were blocked by large police forces. He also noted that stones had been hurled on the house and that police cars were damaged by residents.
Galilee District Police Spokesman superintendent Eran Shaked told Ynet, "When we learned of the crowding we asked the officers not to leave the house and are currently sending large forces from nearby stations to help remove them from the village and are using crowd dispersal means from time to time."
Police forces set up a command post outside the village as part of the rescue attempts. Intensive care units, Magen David Adom ambulances and a firefighter team were present at the site. A helicopter was also made available.
A similar incident occurred three years ago in the Druze village of Peki'in. A house entered by a Border Guard female officer by one of the village dignitaries was encircled during a large-scale arrest operation. She was removed from the site after local religious elements interfered on her behalf. Dozens of people were injured that morning during riots in the village.
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