Tear gas on the street
Clashes in the heart of the city
Police arrested 13 people in the Umm al-Fahm area early Wednesday on suspicion of taking part in riots during a procession held by right-wing activists on Tuesday in the northern Arab city.
Police officials vowed to arrest all the rioters who took part in the violent protest.
During the demonstration, stones were thrown at the marching rightists, police officers were shoved and tear gas was fired at the town's residents.
Twenty-two people have been arrested so far on suspicion of being involved in the violent clashes, which led to the injury of nearly 30 people, including Deputy Police Commissioner Shahar Ayalon and Knesset Member Ilan Ghilon (Meretz).
Large police forces were sent in the night hours to the Umm al-Fahm area in search of the suspected rioters. Police officials said Wednesday morning that they plan to locate all those involved in the clashes and that further arrests were expected.
"What began as an attempt to protest against the procession turned into a protest against the police," said Superintendent Shimon Ben Shabo, commander of the local police station.
Nine suspected rioters were arrested on Tuesday. Some were seized by policemen disguised as Arabs, who operated Tuesday in the Northern District for the first time and were brought to the area at the request of District Commander Shimon Koren.
Police officials explained that the acts of protest, which lasted many hours, ended only after the rioters were arrested.
Violent clashes, Tuesday (Photo: Ido Erez)
On Tuesday night, after processing the intelligence and photographed material obtained by the police, the forces embarked on a series of raids at the command of Superintendent Ben-Shabo. According to the police, the youngest detainees were youths and the oldest ones were in their late 30s.
"We are no longer talking about riots carried out by youngsters aged 17 or 18," stressed the Umm al-Fahm police station commander. "These are ages were don’t usually encounter in riots."
Superintendent Ben-Shabo added that at first the area's resident sought to protest against the presence of right-wing activists in their city. "But the procession ended shortly afterwards, and the riots continued for a long time even later. They then turned into an incident directed at the police.
"We plan to settle the account with all those who rioted. We plan to act firmly and arrest all those rioters," he concluded.