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February 18, 2022 10:39 am

Fears of Violence Rise Over Eastern Jerusalem Tensions

avatar by i24 News

Israeli security forces walk at the site of a demolished house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem January 19, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

i24 News – Israel’s security forces are bracing for more potential violence in eastern Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank on Friday after days of clashes between Jewish and Palestinian factions in the flashpoint neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

“We fear a flare-up in Sheikh Jarrah tomorrow after Friday prayers,” a source close to the matter informed Israel’s Kan broadcaster.

Tensions in the community soared after an alleged firebombing occurred at a home housing a Jewish family in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem which is also known by the name Shimon HaTzadik.

The incident prompted Israel’s right-wing groups, including far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, to call for increased security in the neighborhood.

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Earlier this week, police arrested two suspects in the firebombing case, and the move set off a series of clashes in Sheikh Jarrah.

On Thursday, Israel’s law enforcement officers arrested two more suspects in connection to the alleged arson attack.

Officials are concerned that the situation in Sheikh Jarrah — which inflamed Israeli-Palestinian tensions last year and sparked the 2021 conflict with Gaza — could escalate beyond the neighborhood and create additional violence across the region.

On Sunday, Hamas, the Palestinian militant group which rules the Gaza Strip, said that Israel is “playing with fire in Jerusalem” and warned of a “severe” response to violence in Sheikh Jarrah.

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