Arab rioter shoots fireworks at Israeli police (archive)
Arab rioter shoots fireworks at Israeli police (archive)Sliman Khader/Flash 90

Arab teenagers shot fireworks at Jewish children in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood Tuesday morning, residents say.

Residents of the neighborhood of Maaleh HaZeitim, which along with Maalot David is home to over one hundred Jewish families just to the southeast of the Old City of Jerusalem, say Arab teens targeted elementary school-age children Tuesday morning, shooting fireworks at them from a distance of just several dozen yards.

The children targeted by the Arab teens fled the scene, and managed to avoid injury.

When local security guards approached the Arab teens, the attackers shot several fireworks at the guards before fleeing.

Hodaya Shomron, a resident of Maaleh HaZeitim and a mother of two of the children who were targeted by the Arab teens, described the incident in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

“We went out with the kids to the bus, like every morning. The bus waits for us just outside the neighborhood on the other side of the road. While children were boarding the bus, they shot fireworks at us from a distance of only several dozen yards.”

“A group of Arab teens, between the ages of 14 to 15, were standing there, faces uncovered, and they shot straight at the kids and at the bus. They didn’t shoot in the air or in some other direction, they fired straight at us, it was just like shooting. There was screaming and panic, and we immediately took the kids back in. The guards closed the gates [of the neighborhood], and together with my husband they approached the Arabs, who shot another firework at them, then fled.”

“Only after ten minutes, when the police arrived, were the gates opened up again and the children able to go back to the bus and to school.”

Shomron added that while stone-throwing and even firebomb attacks on buildings in the neighborhood were common, this direct attack on school children was a serious escalation.

“Something big like this hasn’t happened in years. Occasionally they throw firebombs or rocks, but actually shooting at people hasn’t happened here in years. Eight years ago when we moved here, the situation was much worse. We were attacked all the time, and the police were not doing their job. At one point people were unable to enter or leave the neighborhood just before a holiday – like being under siege. That’s not the case today. The police take care of things and are present, but I guess it’s not enough.”

Shomron said residents demanded “full security around the clock for children” and the rest of the neighborhood’s residents.