JERUSALEM, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Israeli border police on Thursday dispersed Palestinian rioters in Jerusalem in a pre-dawn clash in the streets and narrow alleyways of the Silwan neighborhood, near the Old City.
"At local time about 5:00 a.m. (0300 GMT), (Arab) locals threw stones at border police on a regular patrol in the neighborhood, damaging vehicles and setting several cars alight," Israel police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Xinhua.
Fire department officials said rioters set several vehicles and a guard post alight.
The incident broke out earlier when Palestinians, who arose early for a pre-Ramadan meal, said they spotted a group of Israelis cutting through an alleyway near a mosque.
The Jews reportedly were en route to a nearby spring, possibly the nearby Pool of Siloam.
"At local time 3 a.m. (0100 GMT), four settlers arrived and asked to open the gate so they could take a shortcut to a spring," said Mahmoud Karin, a resident of the neighborhood and an employee of the Silwan information center, adding "one of the (Muslim) worshipers saw them and yelled to them to find out what they were doing and they fled," according to the Ha'aretz daily.
Jewish residents of the area said they were unsure of the events, and were unfamiliar with issues about the gate.
"We don't know what happened, this area is usually quiet. It is clear to us that this involves a group of extremists, and we have been in contact with many of the residents who clearly didn't want this to happen," a spokesman for the Jewish residents told the newspaper.
Rosenfeld said no one required hospitalization in the aftermath of the clash, and that the demonstrators were dispersed.
The area has been a scene of contention over city efforts to raze structures built by Palestinian squatters.