A Palestinian shop owner was hospitalized after hundreds of Jewish teenagers reportedly rioted in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday night.
According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, approximately 400 youths marched through the Old City from the Western Wall towards the Muslim Quarter's Damascus Gate, allegedly shouting, beating the doors of houses and shops, throwing rocks and smashing car windows.
As they approached Damascus Gate, the youths stormed an open shop and attacked the shop's Palestinian owner. The owner was taken to Hadassah University Hospital to be treated for his wounds and was released in the morning, his injuries described as "light."
A police force of about 20 officers later arrived at the scene and escorted the rioters out of the Old City however no arrests were made. Police issued a statement on Thursday morning saying that there had been a fight between two groups of youths.
"During the night, a confrontation broke out between young people on Hagai Street in the Old City, during which stones were thrown," the police said.
Police confirmed that an investigation had been opened into the incident and that damage had been caused to a shop, and a number of motor vehicles.
Louis Zorba, a resident of the Muslim Quarter, said: "I heard shouts and banging on the houses, but we are used to it because it happens every time there is a Jewish holiday."
"There were more than 400 people there," he said, "and only 20 police officers."
"I told the officers that if it were Palestinians who were rioting, they would have sent for reinforcements, and probably shot tear gas and stun grenades."
NGO Ir Amim said: "This is not the first time that the police have not done their job to protect the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem."
The NGO claimed the police had attempted to hide the nature of the incident when in described the incident in its statement as a fight between groups of youths, and not as an attack on Palestinians and their property.
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