Police forces in Akko
Photo: Shai Vaaknin
Damaged vehicle in Akko
Photo: Shai Vaaknin
Akko Riots: Police ordered on heightened alert
Police commissioner orders force to go on highest state of alert following Akko riots which left eight people injured; 700 officers deploy in northern city, Jerusalem Police to boost presence in Old City, Temple Mount. Department to increase deployment in mixed cities

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen met with the Northern Police District commanders on Friday for a security assessment, following Thursday's riots in Akko.


Commissioner Cohen ordered the force to go on its highest state of alert for the weekend, ordering mass deployment of troops in all police sectors across Israel.


Following the security assessment, Jerusalem District Police Commander, Major-General Aharon Franco, ordered to increase police and border guard presence in the Old City, around the Temple Mount, in East Jerusalem and in nearby villages in order to prevent disturbances to the peace.


"The police will be decisive in their resolve to prevent disruptions to the public order on Friday, following prayers," said senior police officials.


The Police are to boost presence in other major cities in which Jewish and Arab communities live together, with mass forces deploying across Haifa, Jaffa, Ramla, Lod and Wadi Ara.


On Thursday night Cohen ordered 700 police officers to deploy throughout the northern city, amid rioting that followed fierce clashes between Jews and Arab on Yom Kippur.


'All eyes are on Akko'

Police forces struggled to contain the masses, and stone throwing incidents were reported even after relative calm prevailed in the city. Six people who were lightly injured during the riots were evacuated to a hospital in Nahariya, including a 40-yerr-old man who was trampled by a horse and a 20-year-old man who was hit in the head with a rock. About 10 demonstrators were detained.


The Magen David Adom emergency services reported that the demonstrators punctured the tire of one of the ambulances at the scene.


"All eyes are on Akko, and it is very important to see an appeal for complete calm emerging from the city," Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen said. Police have boosted their presence in the city for fear of a resumption of the violence over the weekend.



Video: Ido Becker (צילום: עידו בקר, עריכה: תמר אברהם)


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During the evening police dispersed a crowd of Jewish demonstrators near the "Eshkol" school. The demonstrators hurled stones at a number of vehicles and homes belonging to Arabs. Police also evacuated a number of Palestinian collaborators from the city after they too were attacked with stones.


Police and Border Guard forces that were dispatched to the city were equipped with crowd-dispersing apparatus, including water hoses and stun grenades.


Wednesday's violence erupted after an Arab motorist entered a predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the holiest of Jewish days.

Riots in Akko (Photo: AFP)


The incident quickly developed into a mass riot involving hundreds of people, during which dozens of cars and some 30 shops were vandalized. Three people, including the Arab motorist and a police officer, sustained light injuries.


The clashes between Arabs and Jews resumed Thursday evening, after Yom Kippur ended, as hundreds of Jews and Arabs demonstrated and confronted police near the train station in eastern Akko and near the city's northern housing projects.


After meeting with Akko Mayor Shimon Lankry and representatives of the local Arab and Jewish communities, Police chief Cohen said "The incident that took place here on Yom Kippur was severe, and Akko's Jewish and Arab leaders will draw the necessary lessons from it, as will police.


"As of right now, there are gatherings of Jews and Arabs in two separate sites," he said. "It is important for me to stress that the incident is a local one; this is a city in which Jews and Arabs have lived side by side for hundreds of years, and I urge them to continue with true dialogue among the leaders to restore the peace."


Hagai Einav and Efrat Weiss contributed to the report


First published: 10.10.08, 00:26
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