Riots in Silwan, Wednesday morning
Photo: Yair Altman
Silwan youngsters throw stones
Photo: Adi Sastiel
Shooting victim Samar Sarchan
Photo: Panet website

Riots erupt after Silwan man shot to death

Jewish security guard opens fire at Palestinian after being pelted with stones in east Jerusalem village; 35-year-old Israeli moderately hurt after being stabbed in back during funeral procession; others injured from stones. Police storm Temple Mount as dozens of worshippers barricade themselves in al-Aqsa Mosque

A Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood was shot dead by a Jewish security guard in the early hours of Friday morning. Two other Palestinians were reportedly injured in the incident, one of them seriously.


During the funeral procession for the victim, a 35-year-old Israeli was stabbed in the back near the Augusta Victoria Hospital. He was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in moderate condition.


Police forces stormed the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City after stones were hurled at police officers.


Dozens of worshippers barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa Mosque as police forces encircled the mosque. Eight people were arrested on suspicion of rioting – five on the Temple Mount and the rest near the Old City.


The guard who shot the Palestinian was arrested and taken in for questioning. He was later released from custody under limiting conditions after posting bail.


According to reports, the security guard was pelted with stones, and, fearing for his life, he pulled out his personal handgun and opened fire, killing 32-year-old Samar Sarchan, who had a criminal record..


A screwdriver and knife were found on the victim's body.


According to the Wadi Hilwa Information Center in Silwan, the Jewish security guard reenacted the shooting "in three different places, which verifies that he had chased after the Palestinian before killing him."


Israel Police confirmed that the guard had reenacted the incident.


Following the incident, local youngsters began rioting in the streets. Police responded by firing stun grenades and tear gas.


One police officer was lightly injured from a stone that was thrown at him by locals.


"There are a lot of people here, also many police officers; people are angry because of the killings," a Silwan resident said. "This is the first time a security guard kills someone, and it will not pass quietly. The injured man has a large family."


Burning tires in Silwan (Photo: Adi Sastiel)


A left-wing activist who was at the site told Ynet, "The entire neighborhood is outside. There are hundreds of people here. Young Arabs are throwing stones and police officers are firing tear gas and rubber bullets."


Eyewitnesses said dozens of hooded Arab youngsters burned tires and threw Molotov cocktails at security forces. Some of them were throwing stones and firecrackers at the homes of local Jews.


Bus that was stoned by rioters (Photo: Yair Altman)


Palestinians reported that some residents were hurt after breathing tear gas.


Later, Palestinians continued to riot during the funeral procession for Sarchan.


During the march, which reached the Muslim cemetery located near the Temple Mount, Palestinians threw stones at passing cars and police. Some officers and passersby were injured.


Some 1,000 people participated in the procession, during which a police vehicle was torched near the Old City's Dung Gate. There were no reports of injury in that incident.


Stones were also thrown at two Israeli vehicles near the Augusta Victoria Hospital. Three Israelis were lightly injured and were rescued by police and Border Guard officers. Rioters overturned the abandoned vehicles.


An eyewitness told Ynet, "We were near Dung Gate when the funeral procession left Silwan. Suddenly we saw hundreds of Arabs running towards us, some of them masked. They threw stones at a group of 20 soldiers who had barricaded themselves in one of the Jewish homes. The soldiers couldn't react or leave the house. Then they headed towards Dung Gate.


"They hurled stones at four buses, a Border Guard vehicle and private vehicles. A number of people were wounded. Border Guard officers eventually drove the stone-throwers back to Silwan," he said.


'Security guards can't deal with riots'

Ofer Rosenman, the owner of the company employing the security guard, criticized the police, claiming that the guards lacked the tools required to deal with disturbances.


Rosenman recounted the incident which took place in the neighborhood. 'Between 4-4:30 am, a car used for transporting security guards into the City of David was making its way to a gas station in Silwan. At some point, the guy ran into an improvised stone barrier. He tried to drive back but was stopped by another barrier which included stones and large rocks.


"At this stage, dozens of Palestinians approached his car. The guard feared for his life and was afraid of being kidnapped. At first he fired in the air, and after the rioters moved towards him, he shot a single bullet and hit one of them.


"A shift leader and another security guard arrived in the area and tried to resuscitate the young Palestinian who was hurt, but were unsuccessful." Cold arms were found on the body.


Rosenman criticized the police, who he said were "showing helplessness and failing to be present in sensitive areas. The guards asked for permission to use crowd dispersal means, but were turned down, so the only weapon left is a pistol. The guys are attacked constantly. The security guards' job is to safeguard the residents' lives and property. They should not have to deal with disturbances."


Silwan is home to about 70 Jewish families who live amid 50,000 Palestinians. Already tense relations have worsened since the city government announced an economic development plan early this year that would demolish dozens of Palestinian homes.


The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, an Israeli advocacy group, recently wrote in a report that Israeli security firms act like a private police force for Silwan's Jewish residents. It said the firms often receive government funding and frequently use threats and violence against Arab residents, while police are reluctant to intervene.


Ronen Medzini, Ali Waked, Yair Altman and AP contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 09.22.10, 09:31
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