Israeli Arab Shot Dead as Jerusalem Riots Spillover; Two Jewish Suspects Arrested

Police arrest two Jewish suspects on suspicion of involvement in the shooting of Moussa Hassouna after masked protesters threw stones at Jewish homes

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Cars set ablaze in Lod, overnight
Cars set ablaze in Lod, overnight

An Israeli Arab man was killed and another moderately wounded in the central Israeli city of Lod on Monday night, as demonstrations and riots mushroomed throughout the country following the escalating violence in Jerusalem.

Some 200 masked protesters gathered outside the municipality building in the mixed Jewish-Arab city on Monday night, where they burned trashcans and hurled stones and fireworks at police.

Police arrested two Jewish suspects on suspicion of involvement in the shooting of 32-year-old Moussa Hassouna. He was survived by three children and a wife. 

One possibility being investigated is that he was shot by residents after Arab rioters threw stones at Jewish homes, tore down traffic signs and set objects on fire.

The shooting in Lod

A video of the event shows people running towards a car, one with a firebomb in hand, followed by gunshots and screams of "Allahu akbar."  

Local resident Meir Layosh said that the mob tried to break into homes while the police took a long time to arrive. "The residents shot into the air before the mob, which didn't divert them, until [the residents] shot towards them and two of the rioters were wounded."

The medics who treated the two said that shortly after 1 A.M., a few dozen residents began rioting near the city's Hashmonaim Street. Rioters approached the United Hatzala ambulances, which were stationed at a distance from the clashes, and asked them to treat two wounded. Police reported two gunshot victims when they arrived at the scene and are investigating the incident. 

Yoel Frankenberg, a Lod resident who was there, said "It was terrifying. If they hadn't opened fire, [the rioters] would have gotten into our houses." He added that their likely target was a group of buildings housing members of Garin Torani, a religious Zionist group that sets up communities in underdeveloped areas.  

Frankenberg told Haaretz that a few dozen masked Arab men gathered on the nearby Hahashmonaim Street and started setting trash cans on fire. 

"We couldn't walk around there, it was clear that we were their target." Frankenberg said that he and his neighbors called the police dozens of times over 40 minutes, but they did not come. 

Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, today.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI - AFP

"An angry mob started to assemble, and they threw bricks and firebombs at us because we exited the house to make sure they wouldn't come closer," he said. "At a certain point, when we felt like there was a real threat and the mob started getting closer to us, a few residents with handgun licenses fired in the air," he said. 

Police suspect that one of the Jewish residents aimed his gun at the rioters rather than shooting in the air. Another resident said that there were at least four people who fired. 

Unrest across the country

Ten people were wounded in clashes in Lod and Ramla and sent to the hospital.

Dozens of people rioted on Tuesday night outside the emergency room at Shamir Medical Center southeast of Tel Aviv after wounded from violent incidents in Lod and Ramla were admitted.

A protest underway in Jaffa yesterdayCredit: Tomer Appelbaum

Among the rioters were relatives and friends of the wounded, who, according to the hospital announcement, threw stones, damaged equipment and cursed and threatened members of the medical staff.

The hospital reported that patients were evacuated and medical staff hid "for long minutes in fear for their lives." Police forces called to the scene dispersed rioters using stun grenades.

Over the course of the night, protesters lit a number of cars on fire and tried to burn down a police station in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood. 

In the nearby city of Ramle, a few dozen protesters set trashcans and tires ablaze, vandalized a gate and pelted an empty Egged bus with stones. The police responded by throwing stun grenades and arresting 18 suspects.

A number of synagogues in the city were vandalized by the rioters, a new cemetery was set on fire, a bus on the main street was pelted with stones, a Judaica store's windows were shattered, and the central Bialik Street was closed off due to fires.

Meanwhile, protesters in the south blocked off Route 6 near Shoket Junction early Tuesday morning. Police said they rescued a woman after her car arrived at the blocked intersection and protesters removed her from her vehicle and set it on fire.

At the Lakiya Junction six kilometers away,  Avichai Marciano told Haaretz that dozens of young people blocking the road with burning tires pelted his car with stones.

"They surrounded us...one of them smashed my window with a stone and, with the same stone, hit the left side of my face and jaw." He said that he called the police, who said they were on their way, but didn't arrive. An ambulance managed to break through the police barrier and evacuate them, he said. 

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