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5 Palestinian teens indicted for allegedly throwing fireworks at Israeli police

June 26, 2017 4:25 P.M. (Updated: June 27, 2017 10:32 A.M.)
Screen shot of video allegedly showing firework attack on Israeli police (Israeli police spokesperson)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have filed charges against five Palestinian youths from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya for allegedly attacking Israeli police officers with rocks and fireworks two weeks ago.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that the five suspects were each between 15 and 19 years old, and had thrown fireworks at Israeli forces, “endangering them.”

His statement said that several days after an investigation was launched into the incident, police forces searched Issawiya and detained the five teenagers, touting that the raid was “based on a search warrant.”

“All five suspects are under arrest and will be charged with attacking police officers,” he said, and attached a video purporting to show footage of the detainees caught in the act.

Rosenfeld had also reported Sunday evening that two Israeli policemen were “lightly injured” in Issawiya when stones and bottles were thrown at them. One suspect was detained for alleged involvement in the incident.

Palestinian areas in occupied East Jerusalem have seen an influx of Israeli settlers at the cost of home demolitions, the eviction of Palestinian families, as well as a heightened presence of Israeli forces and discriminatory policing.

Issawiya is commonly subjected to police raids and restrictions on freedom of movement for local Palestinians in the form of roadblocks and arbitrary searches. Due to the aggressive nature of the raids, local youth sometimes throw rocks or Molotov cocktails at police.

The crackdown on Palestinian Jerusalemites has seen the escalation of violent night raids by Israeli police, carried out in breach of protocol and without proper search warrants.

On Sunday, Israeli police said that three Palestinian youths were indicted for assault after they allegedly attacked a Jewish man near the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.

Palestinian stone throwers, including minors, face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing laws in 2015 allowing for up to 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum of three years for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli.

Right groups have denounced the legislation as being designed specifically to target Palestinian youth, as Israelis and settlers are rarely prosecuted under the same standards of the law.

Israeli authorities recently released two Israelis suspected of attempting to carry out a “price tag” attack -- a term used by right-wing extremist settlers to refer to the attacks they carry out on Palestinians and their property -- due to the fact that they were minors.

By contrast, Palestinian children as young as 12 years old are routinely detained, tried, and sentenced as adults for offenses such as throwing rocks.

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