Police on Monday arrested two suspects who allegedly assaulted a journalist covering the unrest that followed the Flag March through Jerusalem’s Old City.
According to police, the suspects attacked Iyad Harb — the police correspondent for the Kan public broadcaster’s Arabic station — during rioting in the nearby Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The two allegedly beat him with a stick, punched him and sprayed him with Mace.
Harb was taken to the hospital for medical treatment after the assault.
Police said the suspects, both residents of central Israel in their 20s, also stole Harb’s phone. They were due to appear before a court later Monday for a remand hearing.
“We take violence of all kinds very seriously, and especially against journalists who are performing their duties,” a police statement said.
Following the incident, Harb said the masked assailants who sprayed him and then beat him as he fell to the ground were speaking Hebrew.
“The masked Jewish youths asked me to stop filming and then they assaulted me with pepper spray or tear gas… then I fell to the ground and they hit me on the head and back with sticks, and kicked me,” he said.
During the clashes Sunday in Sheikh Jarrah, a flashpoint neighborhood, both Palestinians and Jews engaged in violent clashes that involved stone-throwing later in the evening. Police sought to forcibly disperse the rioters, with some officers chasing them down on horseback.
Also Monday, footage was also released of Israelis breaking through fences in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The demonstrators were seen attacking a car and throwing stones before police ushered them out of the neighborhood.
טירוף בלילה! קבוצת יהודים קיצוניים פורצים גדרות של ערבים בסילוואן מתחילים להשחית רכב ולתקוף את הערבים. פרעות יום ירושלים pic.twitter.com/5eGmd9eMke
— Yossi Eli יוסי אלי (@Yossi_eli) May 30, 2022
The events added to a series of clashes throughout Jerusalem on Sunday as Israel marked Jerusalem Day with the contentious Flag March.
Anticipating tensions, police deployed some 2,000 officers to secure the rally and plainclothes security officers dotted the Old City’s alleyways.
Nonetheless, sporadic clashes broke out between right-wing Israeli marchers and Palestinians throughout the day. At least 60 people were detained for violence, according to the police. Five Israeli police officers, three Israelis and 40 Palestinians were wounded, according to police and medics.
Jerusalem Day, which marks Israel’s conquest of the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, is noted for its controversial Flag March, which is often routed through the city’s Muslim Quarter with participants waving Israeli flags.