Police from the Akko (Acre) Precinct arrested four young men in their 20s on suspicion of involvement in the mass brawl that broke out between Muslims and Druze in Abu Snan Friday night.
The suspects, some Druze, some Muslims, will be arraigned Tuesday in Akko Magistrate's Court. Akko Station Commander, Chief Superintendent Kobi Karni says more arrests are expected.
The clashes appeared to be a result of ongoing tensions in Israel between security forces and Arabs in the week since police shot Hir Alhamdan, who lunged with a knife at a police car two Saturdays ago.
The fighting has also been attributed to two Muslim students entering an Abu Snan high school wearing keffiyehs in honor of Alhamdan. Two Druze students took off their shirts to show the Stars of David they were sporting in honor of slain Border Patrol officer Jedan Assad. Sparring ensued from there and later reached the streets.
In any case, the violent brawl showcases growing tensions between the Muslim and Druze communities in mixed cities.
43 people were injured in the street fight, with 14 still being hospitalized at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. One person remains in very critical condition, one in critical condition, two in moderate to severe condition, and two with moderate wounds.
Major General Hagai Dotan, commander of the Coastal District of Israeli Police, stated that due to the severity of the incident, in which a fragmentation grenade was thrown, the investigation was put under the authority of the Central Province. He added that police would not spare anyone involved and intend to prosecute all participants.
Three days have passed since the violent confrontation, but tensions remain high, despite the quiet on Abu Snan streets. Villagers and police both fear a possible renewal of violence. And some Druze senior officials have gone so far as to call the police investigation the trigger to impending violence.
Mendi Safadi, the Chairman of Druze for Israel, previously the aide to former Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara (Likud), sent a letter to Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu), the Minister of Internal Security warning that the police investigation holds crucial weight in the future relations - and in reducing the flames - between the two sectors.
"The day after the riots in Abu Snan, the District Commander stated that an investigation into the events is taking place - security cameras will be examined, arrests will be made. Now is the time to warn the police of the reasons for the outbreak of violence," Safadi wrote.
"Instead of dealing with the root of the problem, they pick at the branches. Because of this we can expect a repeat of events sooner or later, as well as resistance to unfair arrests and punishments."
Safadi also suggested that the real impetus for the violence was not two Muslim students wearing keffiyehs, but the latest round of fighting in Gaza. Everything that has happened since - the police shooting of Hir Alhamdan, the death of Jedan Assad in a terror attack, etc. - has just added fuel to an already simmering fire.