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IDF enters Lod as city goes into emergency lockdown

CM 11/05/2021

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Lod, a city in central Israel known for being one of the crime centers of Israel, was announced as being in a special civilian emergency on Tuesday night after Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced the diversion of Border Police officers to the city to serve as backup to authorities attempting to control violent protesters. This means that the city is now an enclosed area monitored by the IDF. Overall, 17 residents of Ramle and Lod were arrested on Tuesday, KAN reported. 
“We will do everything we can to restore order and security to Lod and to the whole country,” Public Security Minister Amir Ohana tweeted. 

Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai commented on the violence seen in Lod late Tuesday night: “We have not seen this kind of violence since October 2,000,” adding that he will move his office to Lod until the anarchy settles down. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed security forces to respond harshly to those who violently protest and threaten public security. Netanyahu arrived in Lod late Tuesday night following the day’s events, saying “We will not tolerate this; we need to restore calm.

“If this isn’t an emergency situation, I don’t know what is,” he added, “we’re talking about life and death here.” 
When asked by reporters whether police activity in Jerusalem may have led to the unrest in Lod, Netanyahu shut the assumption down: “These events have no excuse, this is fundamental hate.”

Gantz also indicated that he will provide all the necessary means to security forces in order to restore calm, including the power enforce a lockdown. 

“People’s lives are being threatened,” said Lod Mayor Yair Revivo in an appeal to Netanyahu and Gantz.
“People might die tonight if the government doesn’t put Lod into a lockdown within the next hour,” he warned. The Lod Municipality has helped to evacuate residents who felt that their safety and security were too much at risk, Maariv, the sister publication of the Post, reported on Tuesday night. 

Gantz later said that he had spoken with Revivo, updating him that Lod will be secured with backup forces immediately. 
“We’ve gotten to a place where we have to treat criminals harshly, cool things down and maintain social order,” Gantz said. 
During the course of the violent riots throughout the city, the Maoz yeshiva in the mixed Jewish-Arab Ramat Eshkol neighborhood was firebombed, causing massive damage to one classroom and lesser damage to another, as well as superficial damage to the façade of the building. In addition, a synagogue was set on fire, as well as numerous cars belonging to Jewish residents. 
Firefighters also managed to successfully put out a massive fire in a tire shop, and are in the process of putting out a fire in a residential building. 

Initial escalations began as hundreds of Arab residents protested in Lod on Monday night in solidarity with Palestinians in east Jerusalem and Gaza by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails around while marching toward the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Eskhol. 

Israel police in the Ramle-Lod region reported that 16 protesters were arrested on Monday evening during riots in which around 200 Arab youth arrived to protest in solidarity with Palestinians in east Jerusalem. Many were seen throwing stones and bottles and launching fireworks at police and buildings, while also burning trash cans and tires. 
A 33-year-old Lod resident and father of three named Musa Malakh Hassuna was shot dead during the riots on Hahashmonaim Street in Lod.
Two more people were moderately injured in the incident, including a 20-year-old man. 

Violence continued on Tuesday night following the funeral of Hassuna, with rioters clashing with police, throwing rocks and rubble and once again setting fires.Footage obtained by The Jerusalem Post showed private streets in some of the quieter neighborhoods of Lod having cars set aflame in the middle of the night on Tuesday night.The riots took place over the backdrop of the Sheikh Jarrah conflict in east Jerusalem, in which a neighborhood populated by Arab residents is under proprietary dispute, pending a decision by the High Court of Justice. The ongoing conflict has led to protests throughout Israel.
“The danger that Lod faces, and the damage that it can do, is harsher than hundreds of rockets being hurled towards Israel,” Revivo said. 
Idan Zonshine and Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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