Israel sends police into Jerusalem after clashes

Netanyahu vows to restore quiet to city following killing of baby at rail stop

Family members of Abdel Rahman Al-Shaloudi, the Palestinian who was killed by police on Wednesday, mourn at their house in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan. Photograph: Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

Family members of Abdel Rahman Al-Shaloudi, the Palestinian who was killed by police on Wednesday, mourn at their house in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan. Photograph: Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

 

Israel has sent major police reinforcements to Arab areas of Jerusalem following clashes yesterday between hundreds of Palestinians and police after Wednesday night’s killing of a baby when a Palestinian man drove his car into a crowd of Israelis waiting at a light rail stop.

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to restore quiet to Jerusalem, which has seen almost daily violence over the last four months, following the murder of an Arab teenager by Jewish extremists in July to avenge the killing of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinians in the West Bank.

Despite the new “zero-tolerance policy”, under which the police vowed to clamp down immediately to quell any unrest, there were renewed clashes in a number of Palestinian neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem yesterday.

Stones thrown

The three-month-old baby girl – an American citizen, according to the US state department – was killed and eight other Israelis injured when a Palestinian drove his car at high speed into a crowd waiting at a light railway stop in the Ammunition Hill neighbourhood, on the borderline between Jewish west and Palestinian east Jerusalem.

The driver, a 21-year-old from the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, adjacent to Jerusalem’s old city, died of his wounds after he was shot by police while trying to flee.

Relatives said the man had recently completed a term in an Israeli prison for security offences but refused to accept Israel’s claim that he deliberately drove into the Israelis, despite clear CCTV footage, describing the incident as a “traffic accident”.

Israel said the driver was a member of Hamas.

Incitement accusation

Mahmoud Abbas

“The attacks in Jerusalem are supported by Mr Abbas, who both extols the murderers and embraces the organisation that the terrorists belong to, Hamas,” he said.

Mr Abbas called over the weekend on Palestinians to use all means to defend the al- Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Islam’s third- holiest site, after a series of violent confrontations in the compound between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.

The Palestinian leadership rejected Israel’s accusations of incitement. “The Israeli escalation and the ongoing occupation are the real reason for all this violence, be it in Palestine or in the region,” said a spokesman for Mr Abbas.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat called for a firmer police response to the ongoing unrest.

“The situation is intolerable. We must restore calm to Jerusalem,” he said.