Dozens of youths hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at Border Guard officers in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan Thursday morning. The forces dispersed the rioters, who also attacked firefighters.
A spokesman for the Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services said the rioters torched four vehicles, two scooters, trees, trash cans, and a guard post.
Palestinians said the clashes broke out at around 4 am after masked Jewish residents of the neighborhood tried to enter a mosque in the area. The Palestinians, who were awake because of Ramadan, saw the intruders and alerted the youths who started the riots. Jerusalem Police are probing the incident.
Cars torched in Silwan (Photo: Jerusalem Fire and Rescue Services)
Tension has been high in Silwan in recent months, mainly in light of the municipality's decision to raze 22 homes in the neighborhood's al-Bustan area to make way for the construction of a tourist park.
As part of the controversial plan, 22 illegal homes are to be demolished, and 66 others will be "whitewashed" and granted retroactive building permits.
In June, the US administration criticized the plans. "This is expressly the kind of step that we think undermines trust that is fundamental in making progress to the proximity talks and ultimately in direct negotiations," said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.
Crowley stressed that the US is concerned about the controversial archaeological project which was approved by the Jerusalem Municipality and threatens to demolish Palestinian homes.
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