Police, Arabs clash after celebratory gunshots at separate weddings

Public Security Minister orders inquiry as residents accuse police of excessive force.

By World Israel News Staff

Altercations broke out between Israeli police and Arabs attending weddings in northern Israel on Saturday. In both incidents, police responded to reports of gunfire.

Arabs frequently fire celebratory gunshots in the air at weddings.

In the first incident, in the Galilee village of Deir al-Assad, guests clashed with the responding police officers who they said burst into the affair using excessive force.

A 43-year-old man identified by residents as Muhammad Amar was hit by a bullet which witnesses believe was fired by the police. Four police officers were lightly injured during the fracas. Two police cars were also torched by residents. Eleven people were arrested.

Reports did not indicate who called the police.

A relative of Amar, Jaber Asdi, told Israeli TV, “It should be emphasized that everyone knows there was no shooting at the wedding. And the police can’t just burst into weddings — even if there was gunfire, the police have methods to deal with the situation.”

“When there is gunfire, the groom is told to come to the police [station] and that is how the incident is handled. They do not just charge into the wedding,” Asdi said.

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Public Security Minister Omer Barlev ordered an inquiry into the affair, saying there was “no justification for any sort of violence like that.” He also praised residents who aided the police officers.

In the nearby village of Bi’ina, a similar clash broke out between wedding guests and police responding to reports of gunfire. One civilian and one police officer were lightly injured and two police cars were torched. No arrests were made.

Reports did not indicate who called the police.