Clashes after mosque vandalized in northern Israel
Scores of angry Israeli Arabs clashed with police Monday, after a mosque was vandalized in their Bedouin village in northern Israel, DPA reported.
At least two hundred villagers marched from the village of Tuba-Zanghariyya, north of the Sea of Galilee, toward a nearby town, Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Some of them threw stones and burnt tyres. Police responded with tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The assailants entered the village overnight, lit fires in the mosque, took copies of the Koran and burnt them outside and spray-painted Hebrew slogans on the walls, with the words "Price Tag" and "Revenge."
Police arrived at the scene to find "very severe damage," and set up a special investigative team and a dialogue with village leaders calm tempers, he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the mosque attack, saying he was "furious" when he saw images of the damage.
Radical Jews have launched attacks on mosques to avenge Israeli government measures to uproot settler outposts in the West Bank.
The last incident was a month ago, when suspected radical settlers vandalized a mosque in a village near Nablus on the northern West Bank.
The ultra-right settlers have named their revenge campaign "Price Tag".
Most acts of vandalism however have occurred in the West Bank, not in Israel, where relations between the Arab minority and Jewish majority have over the past years been tense, but calm.
A major wave of unrest broke out among Israeli Arabs, who make up one-fifth of the population, in October 2000.
Israeli police shot dead 13 rioters, as thousands of Arab citizens of Israel took to the streets in solidarity with protesters in the West Bank, shortly after the second Palestinian uprising erupted amid a deadlock in peace talks.