Israel police say stone-throwing may have caused fatal crash

Israel police say stone-throwing may have caused fatal crash

JERUSALEM - Stone-throwing may have caused a car crash that killed an Israeli motorist near a Palestinian neighbourhood of Jerusalem, police said on Monday amid heightened tensions in the city.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called an "emergency meeting" of members of his cabinet to discuss ways to curb stone-throwing and petrol bombs following a number of recent incidents.

Israeli police said a car in south Jerusalem late Sunday lost control as it passed by the Palestinian district of Sur Baher and hit an electricity pole, fatally injuring the driver, a 65-year-old Jewish man.

"The driver who was involved in an accident, apparently as a result of stone-throwing... died at Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospital," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

She said the incident occurred at around midnight (2100 GMT) and police were investigating the circumstances.

Media reports said the driver and two passengers who were lightly injured were returning home from a celebration for the start of the Jewish New Year.

News of the death was released on Monday amid tensions in Jerusalem, as Muslims clashed with police for a second straight day at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The meeting to discuss the throwing of rocks and petrol bombs was scheduled for Tuesday night after the end of the new year holiday, a government official said.

The ministers of defence, public security and justice as well as the attorney general, among others, are to participate.

"The prime minister views with great severity the phenomenon of rock throwers and throwers of petrol bombs at Israeli civilians and intends on combating this using all measures, including the stepping up of punishments and enforcement," the official said.

Netanyahu said earlier this month that he was boosting security in Jerusalem and reviewing rules for when police may open fire, after an increase in stone-throwing and firebombings.

Tensions have been rising, especially after the July 31 firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank, attributed to Jewish extremists, that killed a toddler as well as his mother and father.

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