A gang of 12 youths from south Tel Aviv is in custody on suspicion of launching a series of assaults on African migrants in the area, police announced late Wednesday night.

News of the arrests came as racial tensions in the economically downtrodden southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods soared following a violent demonstration held by locals on Wednesday against the influx of migrants.

Police believe the suspects, most of whom are minors, assaulted the migrants on several occasions. During some of the assaults, the suspects allegedly beat victims with clubs, while in others, pepper spray was involved, police suspect.

The arrest followed an intensive investigation the Yiftah police-sub district in south Tel Aviv launched following complaints by African migrants of violence.

The Tel Aviv Youth Magistrate’s Court released five youths to house arrest for four days, and six more suspects were released on bail on Thursday.

An additional suspect was kept in custody for an additional day, after he refused the option of house arrest.

Law enforcement officials fear more incidents of violence could follow in light of the high tensions in the area.

Meanwhile, police in south Tel Aviv arrested an Eritrean national on suspicion of mugging a female solder and snatching her phone. The soldier was walking down a street in the morning when the alleged incident occurred.

She notified a store security guard, who chased down the suspect and tackled him, before contacting police.

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