Tuba marchers clash with police after mosque arson

Suspected "price tag" attack takes place overnight in northern town of Tuba Zangria; residents attempt to block intersection, throw stones.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 3, 2011 09:04
2 minute read.
Price tag vandalism (illustrative)

price tag 311. (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)

 
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A mosque was set alight in the village of Tuba Zangaria overnight Sunday in an apparent "Price Tag" attack, prompting residents to attempt a march on nearby Rosh Pina that deteriorated into stone throwing and clashes with security forces.

Residents of the village said that the words "Price Tag" and "Revenge" were sprayed in the area of the mosque. The attack comes amid a recent wave of similar attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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A group of some 300 people marched out of Tuba in the direction of Rosh Pina with the intention of blocking major traffic arteries. During the procession, marchers began throwing stones toward police forces and set tires on fire.

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Police forces prevented them from reaching the main junction using crowd dispersal means.

Police pushed the demonstrators back into the village. Large numbers of police have been deployed to the area. Northern District Police Commander Major-General Roni Attia was engaging in dialogue with Arab community notables in the North aimed at calming tensions.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that "in the early hours of the morning a number of suspects entered the mosque in the village of Tuba and caused severe damage to the mosque's carpet and inner walls. An intensive police investigation has been launched to track down those behind the incident."

Police opened an investigation into the incident and Cmdr. Attia was joined by police forces at the scene.

Last month, police announced the formation of a special task force to track down and arrest far-right extremists who were behind price tag incidents in the West Bank.

"These acts are so dangerous, and harmful on a national level. They can result in an escalation, and this is the last thing the country needs," Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said in September.

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Since the demolition of three homes in the Migron settlement on September 5, two mosques in the West Bank in the towns of Yatma and Quasara were vandalized with the same graffiti. Additionally, price-tag vandals infiltrated an army base next to the Beit-El settlement and damaged 13 vehicles.

Two weeks ago, a left-wing activist in Jerusalem was the recipient of one such attack, after right-wing demonstrators spray-painted “Price Tag Migron” on the entrance to her building in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The activist, who asked not to be named, works as the head of the Settlement Watch Team for Peace Now.

“They know where we live and they’re trying to frighten us,” she said. “We don’t need to be frightened, we need to take it seriously and be careful, but not be afraid.”

The vandals also wrote “Peace Now, the end is near,” “Revenge,” “Migron Forever” and “Death to traitors” up the stairwell of the building. The graffiti was cleaned after police investigated the scene.

“There are other peace activists and other army commanders who got the same graffiti, so I’m in good company,” she joked on Tuesday.

Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.

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