Israel arrests 13 Palestinians for rioting in West Bank

Israel arrests 13 Palestinians for rioting in West Bank

Israeli troops arrested 13 Palestinians overnight Saturday across the West Bank, who were suspected of rioting and using violence towards Israeli civilians and security forces, the Israeli army said, Xinhua reported.

The suspects, who hail from Qalqilya and villages in the Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron areas, are all being held in custody for questioning, according to an Israeli army spokeswoman.

The arrests came after a Palestinian teen was killed Thursday in clashes with Israeli forces near Ramallah. Palestinian eyewitnesses said Baha Samir Badr, 13, was critically wounded by a bullet that hit his chest during a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the village of Beit Laqia, and pronounced dead hours after arriving at the government hospital in Ramallah. Tensions were fueled two days earlier when a mosque was torched near the Palestinian city of Nablus, in a "price tag" attack purportedly carried out by Jewish extremists.

East Jerusalem has also been the site of clashes between Palestinians and security forces in recent days, especially in the Old City area and adjoining Arab and Jewish neighborhoods, after local police on Tuesday night banned Muslims under the age of 50 from entering the Temple Mount in an effort to defuse tensions following the arrival of over thousands of Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall for the last day of the Sukkot holiday.

Fearing that violence may spiral out of control, police eventually closed the Temple Mount, which the Arabs call Haram al- Sharif, to Jews and tourists earlier than on most days, and later entered the compound after allegedly receiving information that " disturbances" may occur in the area.

In several incidents, Palestinian protesters, among them many youths, reportedly fired firecrackers and hurled firebombs at police officers in confrontations that took place in several Arab neighborhoods, while firebombs were lobbed at a Jewish enclave in the area, damaging parked vehicles. Riot control officers responded with sponge rounds and stun grenades, police said.

Some four Palestinians were arrested and three officers were treated for light injuries in the clashes, Israeli daily Ha'aretz said.

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