Clashes resumed Sunday evening between Israel Police forces and Arab protesters demonstrating over the murder of a Palestinian teenager last week apparently at the hands of Jewish extremists.
Six suspects have been arrested over the murder of Mohammed Abu-Khdeir, 16, who was killed in what appears to have been a revenge attack over the kidnap and murder of Israeli teenagers Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah.
Fourteen protesters were arrested for throwing stones, near the town of Tamra in the Galilee, bringing to a total of nearly 60 arrests in the last day. Roughly 200 Arab protesters attempted to block Route 70 at Yavor Junction in northern Israel.
Roughly thirty rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza on Sunday, 17 of which exploded in Israeli territory. No casualties or damage was reported. The IDF returned fire with mortar fire at several targets throughout the Gaza Strip.
In the wake of increased rocket fire, the defense establishment has determined that Palestinian fishermen will be permitted to fish only one nautical mile from the coast, down from six.
The IDF Spokesperson’ unit reported that the Israel Air Force attacked ten terror targets in central and southern Gaza, including rocket launching sites, as well as weapons production facilities. “The IDF is prepared and ready to defend Israeli civilians from any threat and will continue to act steadfastly in order to restore peace and routine life,” read the IDF Spokesperson’s statement. Palestinian sources reported that the attacks hit targets east of Khan Younis and north of Rafah, in southern Gaza. No casualties were reported.
Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino visited Sderot on Sunday, and held a briefing with heads of local authorities. “This area has endured many fierce attacks during the last ten years. We thought we were headed toward a quiet period, but lately there has been an escalation, with an increase in launches. I am impressed with the resilience and the abilities of the residents and police officers here. These days are not easy, and the country has endured a great deal, disturbances throughout the country, including explosives, stones and firebombs, harming civilians and police officers. We will not allow these disturbances to disrupt our lives.”
According to the police commissioner, roughly 150 individuals have been arrested for disturbing the peace throughout Israel over the last few days. “And we remain ready. I believe the numbers will increase, we will not give up, and continue to collect evidence on stone throwers. We will find them at their homes and arrest them. We won’t give up.”
Chaim Yellin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said on Sunday that “rockets continue to explode over homes in the Gaza area, and the situation is legally defined as ‘routine.’ The security cabinet refuses to make clear decisions, and is leaving the residents without help. This is routine? As twenty rockets fall each day, the government is willing to accept it, and we’re expected to raise our children like this?”
Yellin stated that in recent days, a local hotline for dealing with trauma has seen an increase in calls. According to Yellin, the number of callers per day is higher than it was during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 and Operation Cast Lead in 2008. “There is a great difference between the definition of the situation and the reality we’re experiencing, as each day rockets fall on our homes and cause damage and fear.
This ongoing uncertainty is testing our resilience, security, and our faith in government institutions. Without leadership, we find ourselves having to make decisions independently. The Eshkol Council has decided to hold an emergency meeting and declare emergency status in order to provide proper care for residents. We demand that the government define the situation as ‘an extreme situation in the home front,’ and all that entails.”
Also on Sunday, three Palestinians with work permits were attacked in Hadera, by anonymous individuals who fled the scene. One of the workers was lightly injured. Anonymous vandals also sprayed swastikas at the entrance to Kibbutz Revivim in the Negev. Israel Police arrested two twenty-year-olds from the Bedouin village of Bir Hadj in the northern Negev amidst suspicion of throwing stones and burning tires in the Ramat Hanegev regional council area.
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