1 killed, police cars set on fire in riots in Arab-Israeli city

By ALON HOCHMON/MAARIV, YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA, JPOST.COM STAFF
June 6, 2017 07:42

Clashes turned deadly in Kafr Kasim after a citizen resisted arrest.

2 minute read.



Rioting in Kafr Kasim

Rioting in Kafr Kasim

A 27-year-old man, Mohammed Taha, was killed on Tuesday during an incident involving security forces and demonstrators in the Arab-Israeli city of Kafr Kasim.

Hundreds of demonstrators threw stones at the police station at the entrance to the city, leaving one police officer lightly wounded. Amid the riot, security forces fired shots into the air. A police statement said that Taha was shot by a private security guard who opened fire on the protesters out of fear for his life. Three police cars were also set on fire.

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According to a police statement, the riot began when police attempted to detain a driver from the city when it was discovered during a routine permit check that he was wanted for interrogation by security forces. The statement said that as police attempted to take the driver in for questioning, about fifty residents, some of them masked, arrived on the scene and began pelting the police car with rocks and then proceeded to attack the station, setting fire to three police vehicles.

Some outlets have reported that the incident started as a demonstration against the police's failure to combat a crime wave in the city, which has recently claimed the lives of six people and that the demonstration escalated when a large number of young people began to riot and set fire to the police cars.

Several Arab-Israeli lawmakers, including Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh from the Joint List and Esawi Frej from Meretz, arrived to help calm the riots.


On Tuesday morning Odeh, who chairs the Joint List party, was anything but calm. "The police are adding insult to injury. They are not only abandoning the security of our streets, they are attacking and harming civilians," he told reporters.

"The police continue to treat the Arab population has enemies who must be protected against and not as civilians to be protected," he added. 

Frej also lashed out at the police, demanding an immediate investigation into the "murder" of the protester by the security guard. He called the claim that the guard was acting in self defense "nonsense"as he was flanked at the time by a police officer and resident of the village who were protecting him.

The police is on high alert ahead of the funeral for Taha, which is scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon, fearing further breakout of violence.


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