Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) jeeps came under a massive bombardment of rocks and other flying projectiles early Monday morning after trying to arrest a terrorism suspect at a Palestinian refugee camp outside Jerusalem.
The mayhem was captured on video, showing Palestinians on rooftops and at ground level throwing large rocks, cinderblocks, wooden planks and Molotov cocktails at two jeeps trying to pass through an alley of the Qalandiya camp outside Jerusalem. The video shows one of the jeeps bumping into the other, with a large collection of debris visible on the roofs of both.
Palestinians on rooftops throw rocks, cinder blocks, wooden planks, Molotov cocktails and other objects at Israeli Border Police jeeps in Qalandiya outside Jerusalem Monday morning (Image source: YouTube)
The Israeli Border Police inside called for help and in the resulting clashes with IDF forces, three Palestinians were killed, according to Israeli and Palestinian news sites.
The Israeli website Ma’ariv reports that an undercover border police unit known as “Mista’arvim” – that is, those who disguise themselves as Arabs – set out early Monday morning to arrest terror suspect Yousef al-Khatib who was released last month after spending ten years in Israeli prison.
When the locals discovered the visitors were actually Israeli security officials, throngs of Palestinians emerged to attack them, forcing them to call in troops to aid their evacuation, according to the Israeli news site.
Border Police Spokesman Shai Hakimi tells Ynet that an estimated 1,500 Palestinians poured into the streets to attack the Israeli officers in the Qalandiya camp which is located eight miles north of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
Unnamed military officials tell Ynet that the troops used crowd control measures including aiming at rioters’ legs to try to avoid casualties.
According to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, three Palestinians were killed in the ensuing clashes including Robin al-Abed, 32, Younis Jihad Abu al-Sheikh Jahjouh, 22, and Jihad Asslan, 20 while another 15 were reported injured.
Ma'an quoted eyewitnesses who said that Israeli forces who were dressed in civilian clothing entered the camp at 5:00 a.m. and that after residents surrounded the Israeli security officials, the latter opened fire.
Border Police Spokesman Shai Hakimi said riot control munitions were used, which according to the Times of Israel generally “refers to rubber bullets and tear gas.”
The Times of Israel quotes an IDF spokesman saying soldiers were rushed to the scene after the initial team was attacked and that soldiers opened fire when they believed their lives were in “imminent danger.”
“Large violent crowds such as this which significantly outnumber security forces leave no other choice but to resort to live fire in self-defense,” said an IDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, "the string of Israeli crimes and continued settlement construction represent a clear message as to its true intentions for the peace process."
“Such a crime proves the need for an urgent and effective international protection for our people,” said the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in a statement.
The IDF is investigating the incident and released a statement saying, "During an overnight operation for the arrest of a suspect in Qalandiya, a riot involving hundreds of Palestinians who attacked the security forces erupted.”
“Early details suggest that an IDF force supporting the troops was trying to rescue them and that fire was opened at the assailants when the situation became life threatening,” the IDF Spokesman added.
The Times of Israel quoted a source in Palestinian Authority President Abbas's office saying the Palestinians have decided to postpone a meeting Monday with Israeli peace negotiators to protest the killings.
Here is a video of Palestinians hurling numerous objects at the Israeli jeeps as they pass through an alleyway of the Qalandiya camp early Monday. TheBlaze cannot independently verify the video but can report that it was posted on numerous Israel and Palestinian sites: