Page last updated at 17:59 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 18:59 UK

Acre riots man under house arrest

Israeli border policemen and Israeli-Arab youths in Acre
A tense calm has returned to Acre after days of clashes

An Israeli-Arab man who drove his car through a Jewish neighbourhood on a religious holiday, sparking days of riots, has been put under house arrest.

Tawfik Jamal also had his driver's licence suspended, police said.

Mr Jamal had been held on suspicion of reckless endangerment, speeding and harming religious sensitivities.

The incident, which happened in the ethnically mixed city of Acre, sparked some of the worst clashes between Jews and Arabs in Israel for years.

Mr Jamal has apologised for his actions and has appealed for reconciliation between the city's inhabitants.

"Had I known that even a fraction of the trouble would have happened, I never would have driven," he told Israel's Army Radio.

"I hope in the end we all get back on the right track. We must pray for that."

Police presence

Police have arrested 64 people since the unrest erupted late last Wednesday.

I am sure some Jews also drove on Yom Kippur - will the police arrest them?
Abbas Zkoor
MK for Acre legislator

Hundreds of Israeli police officers are continuing to maintain a strong security presence in the city.

Following Mr Jamal's arrest on Monday night, Israeli-Arab lawmakers said the detention was politically motivated.

"I am sure some Jews also drove on Yom Kippur. Will the police arrest them?" asked Abbas Zkoor, an MK for Acre legislator.

Religious Jews fast and refrain from driving on Yom Kippur, regarded as one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

About one-third of Acre's population are Israeli Arabs.

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

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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