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Clashes as Israeli extremists demonstrate in Arab town

Israeli police and stone-throwing Arabs clashed in northern Israel on Wednesday as a group of extreme right-wing Israelis tried to march through the Arab Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm.

Updated: Oct 28, 2010, 00:30 AM IST

Umm al-Fahm: Israeli police and
stone-throwing Arabs clashed in northern Israel on Wednesday as a
group of extreme right-wing Israelis tried to march through
the Arab Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm.

Hundreds of police clad in riot gear fired tear gas
and stun grenades to disperse angry Arab youths, many with
scarves wrapped around their faces, which burned tyres and
hurled stones in protest ahead of an extremist rally in their
town.

Tensions were high as around 20 Israeli demonstrators
from a group called "Our Land of Israel" turned up for a march
calling for a ban on the radical wing of the Israeli Islamic
Movement, which is led by the firebrand preacher Sheikh Raed
Salah.

"Death to terrorists!" they shouted, waving banners
reading: "Make the Islamic Movement illegal “and” Death to
Raed Salah," although they were prevented from marching by
police who hemmed them in with three coaches, a news agency correspondent at the scene said.

Police said they arrested 10 Arab Israelis for
stone throwing during the clashes, which also saw two Arab
Israeli MPs injured.

Hanin Zuabi, a deputy with the left-wing Arab
nationalist party Balad, sustained injuries to her back and
neck after being hit by a stun grenade, party leader Jamal
Zakhalka said.

MP Afu Agbaria, who is a member of the communist
Hadash party, was also taken to hospital after a tear gas
canister slammed into his leg, an AFP correspondent said.

The controversial march roughly coincides with the
20th anniversary of the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, a
right-wing extremist who routinely referred to Arabs as "dogs"
and called for their expulsion from Israel.

"The Islamic Movement is part of the international
Islamic jihad," said MP Michael Ben Ari, who accused it of
having ties to the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and
Islamic Jihad.

PTI