Three Jewish Rioters Hurt, Arab Home Set Ablaze as Acre Violence Resumes

Israeli Arab MK: Arab leaders set to condemn acts of Acre man who drove in Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur.

Three Jewish rioters sustained minor injuries Saturday evening as violence between Jewish and Arab residents of the northern city of Acre raged for a fourth consecutive day.

Arab residents hurled rocks at a group of Jews from one of the homes in the eastern neighborhood, causing the injuries.

Meanwhile, Jewish rioters set fire to a home owned by an Arab family, after having set fire to two houses the previous night. Large firefighting teams and police forces arrived at the scene in efforts to quell the riots.

The violence flared up again despite efforts by police officials and Arab representatives to calm the aggressions. Earlier Saturday, the city's Arab leaders met with senior police officials and both sides decided to renounce all acts of violence and intimidation. The police were planning to convene representatives of the Jewish sector as well in order to convey the condemnation of violence.

The riots initially erupted around midnight on Wednesday on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, when an Arab resident drove his car through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, allegedly playing loud music in what Jewish residents called a deliberate provocation.

Much of Israel routinely shuts down for the Yom Kippur holiday, considered the holiest religious holiday in the Jewish faith. Most streets are empty, save for emergency vehicles.

The driver denied entering the neighborhood as a provocation, telling reporters he drove "slowly and carefully" to pick up his daughter from her fiance's home.

A group of Jewish residents then proceeded to assault the driver, sparking large-scale riots that lasted well into Saturday.

Israeli Arab MK and Acre resident Abbas Zakour said Saturday that representatives of the Arab public were set to publicly renounce the acts of the man who drove into a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur, "even if he didn't intend to disrespect the Jews," in efforts to end the clashes. Zakour added that the man should have thought of other ways to get home other than driving through a Jewish neighborhood.

Public figures from both the Arab and Jewish sectors were planning to meet in Acre's old city Saturday evening in efforts to reach an agreement, and consequently issue a joint request to the city's mayor to reverse his decision to cancel the upcoming theater festival, held annually in the city over the Sukkot holiday.

Earlier Saturday, police forces securing the area arrested four rioters after two Arab-owned apartments were torched in the city. Two of those arrested were subsequently released due to their young age.

Riots renewed late Saturday with residents briefly hurling stones at one another before police forces restored calm.

Meanwhile, Jewish hackers broke into a Hebrew-language Web site, smearing incitement calls against Arabs and urging Jews to boycott Arab-owned businesses.

So far in the rioting, some 40 shops and 100 cars have been damaged. Around 30 people have been arrested, 20 of whom are still in custody.

On Friday, dozens of Jewish rioters gathered in front of an Israeli Arab family's home on the city's Ahad Ha'am street, upon which a number of masked figures - apparently Arabs - were standing.

Large police forces succeeded in separating the sides, and later managed to enforce calm in the city, according to Israel Radio.

Earlier Friday, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter vowed that police would deal firmly with those responsible for inciting Wednesday night's riots.

"The inciters and perpetrators will be located and brought to justice," Dichter pledged.

He also blasted both Jews and Muslims for the incitement that led to the escalation of the riots. "We will check the calls in Mosques for the Arab public to go out onto the streets," Dichter said.

The minister stressed that comparing the riots to Kristallnacht - the 1938 "Night of Broken Glass" Nazi pogrom - displayed in the best case ignorance and in the worst, incitement.

He said: "Calls [by Jews] for residents to carry arms is in effect incitement for its own sake."

An Israel Police source said on Thursday that the police had no prior intelligence about the possibility of clashes between Jewish and Arab residents.

On Thursday evening, police faced off against hundreds of Jewish rioters chanting "death to Arabs" and trying to block the city's main thoroughfare. Border Police and officers on horse-back meanwhile tried to prevent the rioters from reaching the city center, where hundreds of Arab rioters had gathered.

Arabs and Jews hurled rocks at each other at the Acre train station and police used water hoses and tear gas to disperse them. In the Old City, Arabs threw stones and burned tires. Two people were reported injured, one by a police horse and the other by a stone to the head.

Police summoned reinforcements from other districts earlier Thursday in anticipation of a renewal of the violent clashes. Hundreds of police are now stationed in the city.