Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 11:31 UK

Security tight in riot-torn Acre

Burned house in Acre, 11 Oct
A number of houses in Acre have been torched in the riots

Hundreds of Israeli police officers have been deployed to the northern city of Acre after four days of violence between Arabs and Jews.

Overnight Jewish and Arab demonstrators threw stones at each other, before being dispersed by the security forces.

On Sunday the normally busy Old City was reported to be almost empty.

More than 50 people have been arrested since Wednesday when an Israeli-Arab man was assaulted for driving his car during the Jewish Yom Kippur holy day.

Jews in the area accused the man of driving into a conservative Jewish area with provocatively loud music blaring from his car radio on a day when many Jews do not eat or drive.

He maintains he was driving quietly to his son's fiance's house in the area.

Water cannon

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as saying he would adopt a zero tolerance policy on violence in Acre and that there was a feeling residents were being held hostage by extremists.

All the money I invested in this house, and now everything has been destroyed
Subhi Murasi,
owner of torched house

Senior police officers have met Arab leaders to try to restore calm.

About 700 officers are on patrol in a city of about 50,000.

Police used water cannon on Saturday to disperse stone-throwing rioters.

An owner of a house torched by Jewish rioters, Subhi Murasi, told Haaretz: "Everyone thinks that only Jews are being hurt in the eastern neighbourhood, and nobody's paying any attention to us.

"All the money I invested in this house, and now everything has been destroyed."

Hundreds of Arabs took to the streets damaging shops and vehicles after the car driver, Tawfik Jamal, was assaulted by a group of Jewish youths.

Jewish and Arab rioters have clashed with each other and with police on subsequent days.

Mr Jamal is reported to have said he was simply driving to a property he owned in the eastern part of the city.

About one-third of Acre's population are Israeli-Arabs, with the highest concentration in the Old City.

Israeli-Arabs are people of Palestinian origin whose forbears remained in Israel after the foundation of the country in 1948.

They number about one million - about one-fifth of the Israeli population - and although they have full rights as Israeli citizens, human rights groups say they face discrimination and exclusion.

Al Jazeera Acre faces fourth night of riots - 10 hrs ago
Arab News Palestinian groups protest Acre riots - 17 hrs ago
Haaretz Driver who sparked Acre riots: I'd sacrifice myself to bring back coexistence - 25 hrs ago
CNN Israeli rumor riots subside - 25 hrs ago
Haaretz Olmert: Acre residents being held hostage by extremists - 26 hrs ago

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