Tensions high in Majdal Shams as police arrest Naksa Day stone-throwers
Police official says special team created to investigate stone throwing during the violent clashes that marked the 44th anniversary of the Six-Day War; Majdal Shams residents threaten escalation if more arrests are made.
Police arrested three residents of the northern Druze village of Majdal Shams on Thursday on the suspicion that they hurled stones at the police and Israel Defence Forces during this week's Naksa Day protests.
Majdal Shams, located on the border with Syria, has become the flash point in recurring Israeli-Palestinian skirmishes both on Nakba Day last month as well as Naksa Day.
A senior official from the northern police unit told Haaretz that a special team was established in order to investigate the incidents of stone throwing that took place during the protests, which were held to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War.
The official said he expects more arrests in the coming days. The police have been collecting photos and video recordings of the protests in order to identify the stone throwers. On Tuesday, three other residents of the village were arrested for stone throwing.
"We are not afraid of a confrontation with the residents," a senior police official said, adding that the police were prepared to bring all stone-throwers to justice.
Residents of the village have expressed anger over the arrests and have warned about a potential escalation if the arrests continue.
"We feel like they are punishing us," a resident of the village who asked to remain unnamed said about the arrests.
Other residents of the village said that the stone throwing on Naksa Day only came in response to IDF shooting of protesters on the Syrian side of the border. Syria has reported that 23 people were killed in the clashes, but the IDF has disputed that number, saying that it is likely exaggerated and there is no way to verify it.
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