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Israel rumor riots subside after 4 days

  • Story Highlights
  • Northern Israeli town of Acre was quiet after four days of Arab-Jewish rioting
  • Violence sparked in part by unsubstantiated rumors about attack on driver
  • Fears unrest could be reignited
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From Shira Medding
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The northern Israeli town of Acre was quiet on Sunday after four days of Arab-Jewish rioting, sparked in part by unsubstantiated rumors.

Four days of violence have gripped the northern Israeli town of Acre.

Four days of violence have gripped the northern Israeli town of Acre.

While the violence has subsided, there are still worries that the rioting could reignite at any moment.

Acre is one of a handful of inter-ethnic towns in Israel, consisting of 70 percent Jewish Israelis and about 30 percent Arab Israelis.

Rioting broke out Wednesday night after an Arab motorist entered a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish religion. Jewish residents confronted the driver and a fistfight broke out, according to Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

A rumor spread among Acre's Arab residents that the driver had been killed and that prompted calls from some local mosques to avenge his reported death, Rosenfeld said.

Hundreds of Arab youths rioted in Acre's Jewish neighborhood causing extensive damage to cars and shops in the area. Israeli police forcefully dispersed the crowds using tear gas and stun grenades, Rosenfeld said.

As soon as the Yom Kippur fast ended, about 200 Jewish residents began to riot in Acre's Arab neighborhood. Police used force to disperse the rioters arresting some of them, Rosenfeld said.

Leaders on both sides called on the residents to restore calm, however those calls went unheeded and riots broke out again on Friday.

Two apartments belonging to Arab residents were torched by the Jewish rioters. Police separated the rioters throughout Saturday, however the rioting erupted again that night.

Rosenfeld said that police forces have been deployed throughout the town in large numbers to try and stop further rioting. So far, 54 of the rioters have been arrested.

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