Twelve-year-old Boy Wounded by Firebomb in Serious Condition, Hospital Says

Boy in an induced coma after being hit by a firebomb in Jaffa as Jewish-Arab riots spread across Israel ■ 15-year-old Israeli Arab boy wounded by police fire near a mosque in Lod

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Masked suspects of throwing a firebomb on a Jaffa home, today.
Masked suspects of throwing a firebomb on a Jaffa home, today.

A 12-year-old Arab boy was wounded by firebombs thrown at his home in Jaffa, and is in serious condition. He is in an induced coma at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. 

On Friday night, Magen David Adom emergency services evacuated the 12-year-old boy, who at the time was in a moderate condition with burns on his upper body. His 10-year-old sister was lightly injured in the head. Police are checking if Jews lobbed the firebomb, or whether it was an internal dispute.

His father told Haaretz the family was sitting in the living room "when the house was hit, and fire started coming in through the window." The boy's grandfather said the police prevented him from coming to help, "despite the tragedy. How long will it stay like this? And they say we're the terrorists. They lock us in our homes and let the settlers do what they want". Two neighbours told Haaretz "the police protects the settlers, and lets them enter Jaffa. These are militias working with police permission. We don't touch the Jews living here, and treat everyone with respect".

In the central city of Lod, a 15-year-old boy was wounded by police near a mosque. According to the police, the youth tried to throw a fire bomb at police.

Violent riots resumed Friday in Israel's mixed cities, with police arresting dozens of people including a leader of the Islamic Movement and blocking main roads in the north.

The clashes come against the backdrop of Israel's current escalation with Gaza that has seen about 2,00 rockets fired at Israel and fatalities on both sides.

Earlier on Friday, Israel barred non-residents from entering the Lod starting at 4 P.M., after violence there spiraled out of control in recent days.

In addition, Lod residents are barred from leaving their homes from 9 P.M. Defense Minister Benny Gantz extended Thursday the curfew imposed on Lod by 48 hours.

Arabs threw a pipe bomb at two women in Lod. An armed passerby fired into the air, driving away the attackers. There were no casualties following the incident.

Also on Friday, residents of Umm al-Fahm clashed with guards and set a fire next to City Hall. Five people were arrested following the clashes.  

In Acre, nine Arabs in their 20s and 30s have been detained on suspicion of disorderly conduct, arson, throwing stones and setting off firecrackers.

Islamic Movement head arrested

A man looks inside a synagogue after it was set on fire by Arab-Israelis in Lod on Friday.Credit: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP

The police and Shin Bet security service arrested the deputy head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, on suspicion of incitement. 

Following the arrest, clashes broke out in the northern town of Kafr Kana with 28 people wounded, four of them seriously.

The branch’s head, Ra’ad Salah, is currently serving a prison sentence for incitement and supporting terrorism.

The Shin Bet security service said that “in recent weeks, Al-Khatib has used his public status to incite rioters on the Temple Mount and across Israel.”

The Shin Bet added that Al-Khatib has been warned in the past, and was arrested “due to the risk his activity poses to public safety and order.” 

Riots across the country

The situation in Israel's mixed cities has deteriorated this week, with Arabs and Jews attacking each other across the country. In response, Israel has deployed heavy police forces, which have also clashed with residents.

An Israeli Arab taxi driver who was attacked by Jews in the central city of Bat Yam, this week. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The police said previously that they have arrested dozens of who have participated in the violence that have taken place in Jewish-Arab cities in recent days.

The detainees include suspects in the attack of an Israel Defense Forces soldier in Jaffa, an Arab driver in the central city of Bat Yam, and a Jewish school teacher in Acre, as well as those who set restaurants and a hotel on fire in the city. 

Prosecutors have so far filed indictments against 52 suspects, for charges including endangering human life, assaulting police officers and arson.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Friday the violence in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, while emphasizing attacks carried out by Arabs on Jews.

"What's happening in Israel's cities is very grave," Netanyahu said during a situation assessment at a Border Police headquarters in Lod.

"A group of lawbreakers from the Arab community are hurting Jews only because they are Jews. The reaction of Arab leaders has been very weak so far. They all must condemn any form of violence – violence of Arabs against Jews and of Jews against Arabs.

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Netanyahu added: "We will use force and deal with these perpetrators and criminals. We consider this terrorism and the police will receive full political and legal backing. People should not be afraid to do what they have to do -- to protect their lives and the lives of Israel's citizens who come in peace."

Palestinian protesters run from a stun grenade thrown by Israeli police in Sheikh Jarrah on Friday.Credit: Mahmoud Illean / AP

Jerusalem violence continues

After days of relative calm in Jerusalem, Friday evening saw the renewal of violence between Arabs, Jews and police in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Local residents hurled firecrackers at right-wing activists, who responded with gunfire. Activists were filmed firing pistols in all directions. Two of the shooters were arrested.

Clashes in Sheikh Jarrah erupted during a demonstration staged by 300 Jewish left-wing activists. According to Meretz lawmaker Mossi Raz who attended the rally, the demonstration started quietly and "at first there were no police forces and no settlers, we started marching from the back of the neighborhood to the main road."

Upon reaching the main road, the police began evacuating protestors by force, Raz said. The police dispersed the protestors using stun grenades. One demonstrator was injured and another was arrested.

According to the police, dozens of Palestinians threw rocks at police at the Temple Mount. The police responded with crowd dispersal measures. There were also clashes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and at the Neve Yaakov junction.

Legal documents obtained by Haaretz show that Israel Police handed over severe cases of violence to Shin Bet from the past week, and the agency has been increasingly involved in making arrests.

Some police units are still involved in some of the cases alongside Shin Bet, which is generally under less legal and public scrutiny than police.

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