12 Israeli Arabs arrested as protests across country turn violent

One officer lightly injured when demonstrators in Lod hurl rocks, bottles at police trying to disperse crowds

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

FILE: Police officers in the streets of Jaffa, October 6, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
FILE: Police officers in the streets of Jaffa, October 6, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

At least a dozen Israeli Arabs were arrested in two separate demonstrations Wednesday, as unrest continued to spread from the West Bank into central Israel.

In the city of Lod, five people were arrested after protesters, carrying Palestinian flags, turned violent and hurled rocks and bottles at police officers attempting to disperse the crowds.

One police officer was lightly injured after a rock struck him in the head.

In response, Jewish residents of the mixed central Israeli city gathered opposite the demonstration to protest the recent surge in violence against Israelis.

In the northern Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, seven protesters were arrested for throwing firebombs at police.

According to a report in the Hebrew NRG website, most of the demonstrators gathered at the city’s main square were minors.

Also on Wednesday, a bus in the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth was pelted with rocks. No injuries were reported, and police opened an investigation into the incident.

In Jaffa, two people were reportedly arrested after throwing rocks during a demonstration.

In a similar demonstration on Tuesday, hundreds of Jaffa’s Arab residents took to the streets waving Palestinian flags and chanting, “In spirit and in blood, we will redeem al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Six police officers were lightly wounded when some masked protesters began hurling rocks at the officers who arrived at the scene to disperse the demonstration.

The demonstrations by Israel’s Arab communities comes amid escalating violence and clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, after terror attacks killed four Israelis and injured dozens of others in the past week.

More unrest is expected Thursday, as several Israeli Arab towns have called for general strikes to protest Israeli policies.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the series of attacks against Israelis, including three stabbings, a “terror wave,” and vowed to use “all means necessary” to combat the violence.

He called on Israelis to remain vigilant amid the surge in violence.

Earlier in the day, a Palestinian man stabbed a soldier in the central Israeli city of Kiryat Gat and then stole his gun, before being shot and killed by responding police.

Two other Israeli civilians were stabbed in separate attacks in Jerusalem and near Tel Aviv throughout the day, and an Israeli woman was set upon by Palestinian rioters while she drove along a West Bank road.

Later in the evening, a Palestinian driver attempted to ram soldiers guarding a checkpoint in the West Bank east of the capital. Two people were reported injured in that attack.

Wednesday’s attacks followed several other deadly terror attacks, and ongoing clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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