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Islamic Jihad: Acre riots beginning stage of 'a third intifadah'

Oct. 10, 2008 10:16 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 10, 2008 10:16 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Islamic Jihad called for demonstrations in support of Palestinians living in Acre who were attacked by Israeli citizens on Thursday and Friday, a spokesperson said.

Waleed Hilis said in a press statement that "what is happening is an indication of a third intefadeh'-led by Palestinians living in Israel."

He said "the attacks carried out by Israeli extremists over the past two days confirm" the need to respond in solidarity with Palestinians living inside Israel. He also called the attacks "barbaric and discriminatory."

Hilis urged Palestinians to confront "these acts and to cling to their homes and land." He said that the past 48 hours' events demonstrate "the Israeli plan to expel the Palestinians from their homes, just like in 1948."

Israeli extremists attacked Palestinians in Acre on Thursday and Friday, which led to violence by Arabs and Jews across the city. At least 15 Palestinians were injured in the riots while houses and cars were set ablaze by mobs of Israeli Jews.

The clashes began in the Israeli town just after midnight on Thursday, when Jewish youths beat a Palestinian resident. New clashes sparked up around the city on Friday afternoon as leaders called for calm.

Young Israelis reportedly assaulted the Palestinian man after he drove into a predominantly Jewish section of the city. Following the assault, other Palestinian youths arrived at the scene, touching off additional riots involving both Arabs and Jews.

The man was reportedly driving home moments before the attack that led two members of the Israeli Knesset to lash out at police on Thursday.

Member of Knesset (MK) Ahmad Tibi accused police of "hapless discrimination" for failing to protect Arab residents of Acre on Thursday. According to Hebrew newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Tibi also called the riot "a pogrom perpetrated by Jewish thugs against Arabs."

Dozens of cars and shops were damaged in the chaos, during which hundreds of protesters shouted "death to Arabs" and other derogatory slogans in mass rallies.

MK Muhammad Barakeh compared the events to the treatment of Jews during World War II, Ha'aretz reported. Barakeh told reporters that the riots on Thursday were similar to what "they were exposed to at the hands of the Nazi gangs in Germany."

Police arrested a number of suspected rioters and said they plan to detain more. Acre's police chief cited the involvement of "Jewish and Arab gangs" in the riots that started in the eastern part of the city.
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