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Major-General Shimon Koren
Photo: Doron Golan
Police official says instigators of Akko riots Jewish
Northern District Commander Maj.-Gen. Shimon Koren vows to restore peace to northern city, says police will make sure agitators are dealt with to full extent of the law

The dominant elements behind the riots in Akko seem to be Jewish instigators, Northern District Police Commander, Major-General Shimon Koren, told Ynet on Sunday.

 

"We have no intention of letting up. We know who's behind the incitement and the arson. It's a very small group of people and they will be dealt with to the full extent of the law," he added.

 

The northern city of Akko has seen four days of stormy riots, as Jews and Arab resident began clashing after an Arab motorist drove into a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, in which traffic traditionally halts.

 

Fourteen people were injured and 54 arrested over the four-day riots, but the police, said Koren, are far from finished.

 

"We have both Jewish and Arab detainees who we know played an active part in the riots. Some are facing serious indictments and may be remanded for the duration of the proceedings against them."

 

Koren, who has not left Akko since the riots began on Thursday night, attended Sunday's cabinet meeting. He briefed the ministers on the situation in the city and on the latest intelligence assessments.
 

Trying to mediate. Koren during the riots (Photo: Hagai Aharon)

 

'Justice will be served'

Police forces stationed in Akko, he said, "will remain on high alert for days to come. Anyone who thinks we will stop making arrests simply because things have relatively calmed down is sorely mistaken."

 

Koren has been heavily involved in the attempts to mediate between the Jewish and Arab residents of the city, which have yet to result in an official calm.

 

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen ordered a mass deployment of troops in the city over the weekend, as the Northern District Police pumped 700 officers into Akko.

 

"We have to be prepared in case things reignite, although the local incidents are under control," said Koren.

 

Major-General Koren negated any possible similarities between the holiday and weekend events and the October 2000 riots: "What's happening in Akko is a far cry from what happened in October of 2000. That was a case of Israeli Arabs protesting State decision, and this is a case of personal feeling taking a nationalistic nature.

 

"This has gone beyond just the criminal incident of setting a car on fire and had become about the relations between Jews and Arabs in the city," he said.

 

Koren commended his officers, who he said have been working tirelessly since the onset of the events.

  

"The Israeli police officers have proven their dedication by reporting to duty during the fast and by standing firm and keeping the peace, despite the fact that they are stoned in the streets.

 

"We will not allow for any more disorderly conduct or riots and we will keep securing the Arab neighborhoods," he concluded.

 

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