Tel Aviv imposes curfew in central Israeli city amid clashes

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ANKARA / JERUSALEM

Israel on Wednesday imposed a curfew in an Arab-majority city after clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and Arab-Israeli Palestinians over tensions in Jerusalem and Gaza.

The curfew in the central city of Lod will begin at 9 p.m. local time and last until 4 a.m., Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Anadolu Agency.

Authorities will decide later how many days the curfew will last “based on the situation on the ground,” he added.

The city saw fierce clashes Tuesday between Arab youths and police during a funeral procession for an Arab Israeli resident who was killed by an Israeli settler.

Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth reported that two Israeli police officers were injured in the clashes, which also saw a police vehicle set ablaze.

Hundreds of Arab residents of the city took part in the funeral procession for their Arab kinsman, who was killed Monday.

After the funeral, dozens of vehicles were set on fire in clashes between the police and Palestinians in Lod and surrounding cities, and some police officers were slightly injured, Rosenfeld told Anadolu Agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later announced a state of emergency in the city.

Rising Palestinian death toll from Israeli attacks

The death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip has risen to 56, including 14 children, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

A ministry statement said five women were among the victims, while a total of 335 people were injured.

Arab Israelis are the Palestinians who managed to stay in their homes during the Nakba (forced exodus) of 1948 and later became citizens of the Israeli state. They make up around 20% of Israel’s population.

They are centered in a group of Arab towns in central Israel known as the “Little Triangle” along with the Galilee (north) and Negev regions (south).

Numerous human rights groups decry Israeli policies against Arabs as a form of modern-day apartheid, with Arab Israelis suffering from racial discrimination in education, work, and health care.

Tensions have been running high since an Israeli court last week ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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