Israeli police are under fire Friday morning over what some are calling the use of excessive force in response to disturbances in the city of Bnei Brak overnight.
Hundreds of heavily-armed special Yassam riot police officers, with a police helicopter overhead to direct them, were deployed to Bnei Brak overnight, after a civilian vehicle carrying police officers was attacked by dozens of yeshiva students.
The car was damaged during the attack, and one female police officer was lightly injured.
Police raided the yeshiva which the alleged assailants are said to be affiliated with, arresting six suspects.
But locals say police indiscriminately attacked residents, beating passersby with batons and firing stun grenades at crowds, even when those targeted were not attacking the officers.
In a statement released overnight, the police department said that it had deployed officers to disperse rioters, some of whom had thrown stones at officers.
“Police are continuing at this moment to disperse violent disturbances and riots in Bnei Brak, during which stones were thrown at officers and tires set on fire at intersections in the center of the city. Police have arrested six suspects.”
Religious Zionism Party chief MK Bezalel Smotrich condemned the police operation, calling it a “violent revenge spree” against residents of Bnei Brak.
“There is absolutely no justification for this violence revenge spree and indiscriminate [use of force] by police last night in Bnei Brak. Effective, targeted law enforcement, yes. Aggressive, indiscriminate violence against civilians – absolutely no.”
MK Yitzhak Pindros (United Torah Judaism) also condemned the police department’s handling of the incident.
“Last night proved once again the need to form a parliamentary committee to probe police behavior. It is unacceptable that in response to a serious incident, police forces operate on the streets of Bnei Brak in a wild spree of vengeance.”
“It makes no sense for an entire city to be lit up with stun grenades in the middle of the night because of a handful of criminals who have been firmly rejected by public representatives. Instead of arresting the rioters, the police attacked the city and its residents for something they didn’t do.”
Source: Arutz Sheva