Police were braced Saturday night for a resurgence of fighting in the Western Galilee village of Abu Snan, where 40 people were injured in a brawl Friday night. One local man was in critical condition, and six others were badly injured after the fighting between some three dozen youths from the village’s Muslim and Druze communities.
Schools in the village will be closed Sunday for fear of renewed sectarian violence, it was announced earlier Saturday, as leaders of the two communities in the Muslim-majority mixed town made efforts to calm tensions between the sides.
In the course of the fighting a grenade was thrown, causing many of the injuries. Some of those hurt sustained shrapnel wounds to the head, stomach and chest. A video of the violent incident was published on the popular Arabic-language website Panet, according to which some shots were fired during the fight.
Police sent reinforcements to the town to restore order and maintain calm.
Channel 10 reported that the fight erupted over the security situation. Tensions, which began with Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — in part over Israeli plans to step up building activity in the city’s eastern sector and religious tensions at the Temple Mount — spread to Israeli Arab communities after last Friday night’s police shooting of a 22-year-old man in Kafr Kanna.
Palestinian leaders have used inflammatory language to warn against Israeli plans to change the status quo and allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount — something Israel has denied. Six Israelis have been killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks in recent weeks, including a Druze Border Police officer.
Ynet reported that, earlier in the week, two Muslim students at the local high school in Abu Snan showed up wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh as a show of protest and were allegedly planning to demonstrate against the shooting of Kheir Hamdan in Kafr Kanna when a confrontation broke out with the Druze students. The incident may have led to the Friday night melee.
Members of the Druze community serve in the IDF and the Israeli Border Police, while members of the rest of Israel’s Arab community largely do not.
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