There were no reported injuries in the pipe bomb attack however violence was raging on Tuesday evening as demonstrators hurled stones and tires lit on fire at Israeli police forces.
Unrest had erupted in the southern Israeli city after two of its residents were killed during confrontations with Israeli police. Sami al-Ajar was killed in a clash with police last week and Sami al-Ziadana was killed during riots that erupted after al-Ajar's funeral on Sunday.
The riots began after a procession that was held in the city during the day on Tuesday – afterwards hundreds of young residents gathered near a police station and violence ensued.
Four teenagers were arrested during the clashes with police – one of whom had been injured while throwing rocks. He was treated by a doctor at the Israeli police unit and transferred for further questioning.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli police released video footage of demonstrators closing in on a police cruiser after al-Ajar's funeral on Sunday. The footage was filmed from a police helicopter hovering over the area and showed hundreds of people surrounding the cruiser, hurling rocks and stones at the direction of the armored vehicle.
Shortly afterwards, reinforcement arrived at the scene to rescue the officers – their vehicle also was the target of serious blows with the chassis collapsing.
The incident occurred during the same riots in which the second Rahat resident, Sami al-Ziadana was killed.
After assessing the situation in Rahat Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said that quiet must be restored in Rahat and in the south. "I understand the pain of the families of the deceased and send my condolences, but in the same breath I say that law and order must be kept.
"I support all the policemen who do sacred work. I will not allow police officers or citizens to be hurt and we announced that we will operate in a manner of zero tolerance. I called on the leadership and the mayor of Rahat, who I know as a moderate and responsible individual, to restore the quiet and to maintain restraint. I also ask the police officers to maintain restraint," said Danino.
Police commander of the southern district Deputy Commissioner Yoram Halevy warned that such attacks may occur again. "They will try today what they tried yesterday – to hurt cops. Attacking police officers, in their eyes, is the result of an event that occurred last Wednesday."
He explained: "There was an operation against a drug station and drug dealers. We have more than a few of those. The drug operation was being run from inside a school. A detective squad which did the ground work and documented large-scale drug trafficking decided to make the arrest and caught the suspect as well as a number of other figures. During the mass arrest he identified the cops and called on the residents to come disrupt the arrest."
According to Halevy, Sami al-Ajar was in the vehicle with the drug dealers and was arrested during the incident. Al-Ajar's father then came to his rescue. "The father arrived with iron bars and hit the officers," noted Deputy Commissioner Halevy, "the father said he saw his son being arrested and decided to free him by hitting the officers."
Danino concluded his remarks by saying that those who broke the law would be brought to justice. "There are radical sources here that have an interest in making the situation worse. We will bring them to justice even in a week or two weeks," Danino said.