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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Israel police arrest Bedouins protesting mosque arson

Published yesterday (updated) 06/10/2011 20:14

Israeli policemen inspect a burnt mosque after it was torched overnight in the
Bedouin village of Tuba Zangaria on Oct. 3. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli police arrested seven more people suspected of joining rock-throwing protests in a Bedouin village in northern Israel following an arson attack on a mosque there, a spokesman said Thursday.

"We arrested another seven people suspected of taking part in the demonstrations, which raises to 25 the total number of people being investigated over the incidents," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

Angry Bedouin youths have been demonstrating throughout the week since a mosque in Tuba Zangariya village was torched by vandals early on Monday, throwing stones and clashing with police who were sent in to restore order.

The attack, which sparked a wave of international condemnation, is believed to be the work of Jewish extremists.

But a court in Nazareth slapped a gag order on details of the investigation which is being conducted by the Shin Bet internal security agency.

The mosque was badly damaged by fire with the perpetrators scrawling the words "tag" and "revenge" on the walls, in what police described as "a very severe price tag incident" -- a term which usually refers to acts of vengeance against Palestinians and their property by Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Although such acts normally occur in the West Bank, a similar attack targeted another mosque in Ibtin village in Galilee last year.

The desecration of the mosque was condemned by top Israeli political and religious figures and also sparked angry protests among village residents, who clashed with police.

Tuba Zangaria is located just seven kilometers from the northern town of Safed where a local rabbi last year sparked outrage after calling on Jews to avoid renting or selling property to Arabs.

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