Israel right-wing activists clash with Jerusalem police following price tag attack
Right-wing activists slash police-car tires, smash windows following attempt to arrest suspects following the arson of a historically significant mosque in the capital.
Dozens of right-wing activists clashed with police officers in Jerusalem on Wednesday, amid attempts to arrest suspects linked to recent so-called price tag attacks.
The rioters, some of whom reside in the capital's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood after being forced to leave the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, slashed the tires and smashed the windows of several police cars. Six rioters were arrested and taken under custody.
Police sources indicated that several youths sought to confront officers arriving at the Jerusalem apartment, while some of those present during the clash claimed that police officers hurled several activists through the first-floor apartment's window.
In the apartment, officers found weapon-like models as well as documents that may be used as evidence.
One of the neighbors, Daniel, told Haaretz that the "police is chasing 20-year-olds around instead of looking for real criminals," adding that "the youth weren't violent at all."
"These were people who were legally expelled and moved here. They have to live somewhere. This is the first time I have ever seen police officers acting without a warrant or due documents," he added.
Clashes in Jerusalem followed a series of recent violent events involving extremist Jewish activists. Earlier Wednesday, a mosque of historical significance in the capital was set alight overnight in another apparent "price tag" attack.
Arsonists set fire to a deserted mosque in central Jerusalem, with damage mainly consisting of the blackening of walls and graffiti reading “Price Tag,” and anti-Islamic phrases.
Earlier, fears that the Israel Defense Forces was about to evacuate an illegal outpost triggered several violent incidents targeting Palestinians in the West Bank.
Two trucks and a car were torched in the Palestinian village of Duma near Nablus, with the inscription "camaraderie Mitzpe Yitzhar" spray painted nearby.
In another incident, rocks were reported to have hurled at Palestinian vehicles passing through the Tapuach and Rechalim Junction; a young Jewish woman was arrested in relation to the attacks.
On Tuesday, dozens of right-wing activists infiltrated an IDF base in the West Bank, with others assaulting the vehicle of a top military officer, who escaped with minor injuries.
Several Israeli public figures expressed their outrage at the recent wave of violence, with Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying earlier Wednesday that Israel needs to see if the so-called hilltop youth, a group of young people who reared in the settlements and belonging to the extreme right, could be designated as a terror organization.
"From the way they conduct themselves, there's no question that this is terrorist behavior," Barak told Army Radio, saying that there exists a need to define them as a terrorist organization: "Is it an organization or is it just a collection of individuals? How can we define them collectively?"
However, Barak added, Israel had to "act fast, so both they and the rest of the normative settler community in the West Bank, the majority of the population, won't be suspected."
In an unusually harsh response, former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said the Israeli soldiers should have shot the right-wing rioters when they assaulted them.