Arab rioter shot while storming police station

Hundreds of Israeli-Arabs rioted and attacked a police station in Kfar Qassem. One rioter was shot dead. 

Arabs in the city of Kfar Qassem, in central Israel, violently rioted and stormed a police station in the city on Monday night, after police attempted to arrest a suspect, a local criminal known to them.

The riots began after the suspect resisted arrest and assaulted the officers. A mob gathered and forcefully extracted the suspect.

Police successfully re-detained the man and took him to the police station. The station was shortly after stormed by hundreds of stone and firebomb throwing rioters, some of them masked.

At some point, a civilian security guard felt his life was threatened and fired at the rioters, killing one.

The riot was brought under control only after reinforcements were called in from other districts.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said rioters burned three police vehicles. At least two policemen were injured in the attack.

A spokesperson for the Joint Arab List political party identified the casualty as Mahmoud Taha, 27.

The police stated it would launch a full official investigation into Taha’s death.

Following the incident, members of the Israeli-Arab sector declared a general strike on Tuesday.

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Meeting in an emergency session, members of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee blamed Prime Minister Netanyahu and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan for Taha’s death and for failing to combat crime in the Arab sector.

The committee announced that the Arab community would protest at intersections around the country and hold a large demonstration in Kfar Qassem this Saturday.

Addressing Israeli-Arab Crime

The Arab sector in Israel suffers from a comparatively high crime rate.

The outburst came as police have recently launched a greater effort to combat crime in Arab towns and villages, with a special emphasis on collecting illegal arms.

Ironically, the incident occurred just hours after Member of Knesset (MK) Dov Hanin challenged Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on the Knesset floor to explain why the security establishment has failed to reign in gun use and street crime in the Arab sector.

He said Arab municipal and national officials have asked repeatedly to confiscate guns in the Arab community and for increased, more effective policing, two requests that he said have gone unanswered.

In recent months, eight people were killed in Kfar Qassem by criminals, including a double murder last week. The residents of Kfar Qassem shut the city’s education system on Monday to protest the police’s failure to act against local violence.

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“The police are adding insult to injury, not only by abandoning our security, the streets of our cities, and by refusing to investigate our murder cases, and then the police attack and harm civilians,” Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh stated.

“The police continue to treat the Arab population as enemies to be protected from, not as civilians to be defended. […] The least the police can do now is to allow residents to protest as they please without the police themselves endangering them and their safety,” concluded Odeh.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
TPS contribute to this report.