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Protests at fatal shooting of Arab Israeli

November 9, 2014

Israel has seen a second day of protests following the fatal police shooting of a young Arab Israeli. Police have been on high alert across the country and multiple arrests have been made.

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Israeli Arab protestors, one holding a traffic sign as another waves a Palestinians flag, clash with Israeli riot police during a demonstration to protest the fatal shooting over the weekend of a 22-year-old Israeli Arab resident who was shot dead as he appeared to be walking away from a police car in the Arab village of Kfar Kana, northern Israel, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Image: picture alliance/AP/Ariel Schalit

Israeli police on Sunday raised their preparedness to the second highest level as angry protesters took to the streets across the country again over the fatal shooting of a young Arab Israeli a day before.

In the Arab village of Kfar Kana, where the 22-year-old man was shot early on Saturday, mounted police dispersed masked Arab Israeli youths throwing stones and setting alight garbage containers.

A police spokeswoman said at least 20 protesters were arrested.

Dozens of Arab students demonstrated at universities in Haifa and Tel Aviv, demanding the resignation of Israel's interior minister, who is in charge of the police. They also called on a far-right coalition member, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, to step down after Bennett described the man who had been shot as a "terrorist."

There were other student protests in Jerusalem and Beersheva.

Trigger-happy?

Israel's Arab citizens also declared a general strike in protest at the shooting of the man, Heir Hamdan, with many accusing Israeli police of being too quick on the draw when an Arab is involved.

Hamdan was shot after attacking a police vehicle with what appeared to be a knife, before running off when police emerged from the van.

Police say the officers felt their lives had been threatened. The incident occurred after police tried to arrest one of Hamdan's relatives.

A statement from the Justice Ministry said authorities would continue to investigate the incident.

Daily protests

The shooting comes as Israel is struggling to cope with a months-long wave of unrest in East Jerusalem that has seen police clash with mostly young protesters on an almost nightly basis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to take harsh measures to bring the situation under control, saying anyone breaking the law would be "punished severely."

"We will not tolerate disturbances and riots," he told his cabinet at its weekly meeting, adding that the Israeli citizenship of Arabs who call for Israel's destruction could be revoked.

Israel's Arab citizens, who make up 20 percent of the country's population of 8 million, have long complained of discrimination in housing, employment and other social areas.

tj/rc (AP, AFP, dpa)

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