A bus was stoned and then torched Thursday night in East Jerusalem, the latest incident in a wave of violence that has hit the city recently and has prompted increased police presence at the flashpoint Temple Mount compound.
Palestinians pelted the bus with stones as it was driving through East Jerusalems Ras al-Amud neighborhood. The driver fled, but when he returned to the spot later with the police, they found that the bus was on fire, apparently after having been torched.
In another incident Thursday night, a bus driver was lightly wounded by shattered glass after stones were thrown at his vehicle near the Hizma checkpoint, at the northeastern entrance to Jerusalem.
Friday morning, the police will be out in force in the eastern part of the city in preparation for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Some 800 extra policemen are currently bolstering the regular Jerusalem force.
As a security measure, men under age 40 will be barred from praying at Al-Aqsa on Friday morning, but there will be no restrictions on the entry of women. According to a police spokesman, this decision was made due to intelligence indicating that young Arab men were planning to clash with police on the Temple Mount on Friday morning.
In recent weeks, and particularly in the past few days, Palestinian attacks have escalated, including an increase in stone-throwing, firebombs and rioting. The violence has directly led to one death: On Sunday night, 64-year-old Alexander Levlovich lost control of his vehicle after it was hit by stones. The car hit a power pole and landed in a ditch. Levlovich was killed and his two passengers were lightly injured in the crash.
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