Israel is gathering troops on the Gaza border as community violence escalates
Israel is preparing to deploy troops to end the riots after attacks by Arab groups of Jewish men on the right wing reached the worst community violence in the country’s recent history.
The clashes erupted as Israel continued its anti-Hamas air campaign, with a Palestinian militant group controlling the Gaza Strip firing at least 500 rockets into Israel last night – as many as the night before.
“I intend to bring in military forces to restore order,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. “We have seen Arab riots set fire to synagogues and vehicles and attack police – it is anarchy.”
He asked the Jews to obey the law: “I don’t care if your blood is boiling. You cannot take the law into your own hands. You can’t try to capture and lynch an ordinary Arab citizen – just as we can’t see Arab citizens doing that to Jewish citizens. “
He spoke after seeing right-wing Jewish groups roaming the streets of Arab neighborhoods, including Lod, Haifa, Acre and Jaffan, where they beat up a man who was almost confused as an Arab. The incident was captured on live news. Arab-owned shops were vandalized.
Arab protesters also took to the streets, sparking clashes with Jews. Cars were burned on Tuesday and Jewish residents of mixed cities were attacked, according to police.
Yair Revivo, the mayor of Lode, where the most violence took place, compared it to the “civil war,” saying police lost control. More than 400 people were arrested, local media reported, and more than a dozen were injured.
Israel has deployed additional troops – including two infantry brigades and an armored vehicle – near the Gaza border. “There has been no order for a ground operation by the Chief of Staff,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an army spokesman. “But military preparations are underway.”
Community violence escalates after police and Israeli police clash al-Aqsa mosque, East Jerusalem.
Israeli police stormed the compound at least three times last week, using rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. At least 600 Palestinians were injured in the clashes.
Hamas went into battle on Monday, firing long-range rockets Towards Jerusalem the ultranationalist Jews captured the Holy City in 1967 in the Western Wall, the holiest prayer site next to the Jewish quarter. Hamas had earlier called on Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem to stop harassing Arab neighbors who were awaiting orders from Israeli courts to overthrow them.
Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks on Gaza, including 600 Hamas military targets, according to the Israeli army.
In Gaza, at least 67 people have been killed, including 24 children, women and the elderly, according to local authorities. According to Israel, at least 30 of them were Hamas fighters, including some top authorities.
The death toll in Israel was seven, including a soldier killed by an anti-tank missile.
Entry flights were routed from Tel Aviv to a smaller Red Sea airport, far from the reach of Hamas rockets.