Two fireworks were thrown into a crowd of protesters near Times Square, as pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrations descended into violence.
The devices were thrown on Thursday evening and the blast was so loud it was initially thought to be a smoke bomb, a NYPD spokesman told DailyMail.com.
The NYPD later clarified that the devices were commercially-bought fireworks, thrown from a car.
One person has a minor burn from the fireworks, and the Arson Investigation Squad and the Midtown North Detective Squad are investigating.
At least 19 people were arrested, The New York Post reported, amid skirmishes between the two sides.
Footage on social media showed agitators from both sides attempting to snatch the other’s flag. The unrest appears to have been started by children who, egged on by their parents, grabbed rival groups’ flags.
One pro-Israel protester was punched in the stomach when he fought to retrieve his flag; a pro-Palestine protester has seen in handcuffs after he tried to get his own flag back.
People are seen running for cover on Thursday evening as fireworks were thrown and began smoking
Smoke can be seen in the area as the fireworks were hurled towards the crowd in Manhattan
Footage on social media did not immediately identify who threw the fireworks: NYPD are investigating
New York police said it was too early to tell who had thrown the fireworks.
However, on social media some claimed that it was hurled by pro-Palestine activists towards a group of pro-Israeli demonstrators.
‘A group of Palestines came and threw explosives at the Jews. Lord have mercy,’ said one witness.
Earlier, violent clashes had erupted in Times Square between both sides.
Pro-Palestinian agitators set an Israeli flag on fire, taunting their rivals.
Green smoke was let off, and the air was thick with acrid chemicals.
The NYPD brought in barricades to try and separate the two sides.
Neither seemed to be willing to back down, however, and several people were seen handcuffed.
Pro-Palestine activists cheer as a man punches another man in the side of the head in Times Square
NYPD are seen arresting a man in a pro-Palestine t-shirt on Thursday evening in Times Square
Green smoke was let off by protesters as fist fights broke out between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel agitators
One man fell to the floor and was kicked while on the ground, as another man, in a red sweatshirt, tried to stop the violence
An Israeli flag was set on fire by the pro-Palestinian crowd
NYPD brought in barricades to try and separate the two warring factions
A masked man waves a Palestinian flag in Times Square, amid smoke and brawls
NYPD swarmed the area, and the rallies were dispersed by 7:30pm.
The unrest came shortly after Joe Biden told the nation that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – the Palestinian group which controls Gaza – had been agreed.
‘These hostilities have resulted in the tragic deaths of so many civilians, including children. I send my sincere condolences to all the families, Israeli and Palestinian, who have lost loved ones,’ Biden said.
‘My hope for a full recovery for the wounded.’
Earlier, a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his Security Cabinet unilaterally approved the Egyptian-mediated proposal.
Biden said the Egyptians played a ‘critical role’ in the ceasefire.
President Joe Biden spoke briefly from the Cross Hall about the ceasefire set to begin between Israel and Hamas
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet approved a unilateral ceasefire to halt an 11-day Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip
Smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza on Thursday before a ceasefire started in the early hours of Friday
The two sides were still negotiating exactly when it would take effect.
Multiple reports said the truce was to go into effect at 2am local time, just over three hours after the cabinet’s decision.
‘The political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign,’ the statement said.
A Hamas official said the ceasefire would be ‘mutual and simultaneous’.
The decision came after heavy US pressure to halt the offensive.
Since the fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza say 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments.
Israel says it has killed at least 160 combatants in Gaza.
Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that have caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.