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A police patrol car was torched overnight in the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona.

The vehicle was found burned outside of the home of a police officer in the Tel Hai neighborhood of Kiryat Shmona.

A grenade was thrown into a nearby car.

This is the fourth such incident in northern Israel over the past week.

Similar incidents were reported in Hatzor HaGalilit, Tzfat (Safed), and Yesod HaMaaleh.

The arson attacks are believed to be the work of Arab gangs fighting police efforts to rein in on Arab mafias running extortion rings, demanding 'protection' payments from businesses and threatening those who refuse payment.

Police recently arrested several suspects tied to an Arab mafia in northern Israel.

"It is suspected that this incident, like several attacks on police cars recently, was carried out in relation to the Israel Police's operations to stop the extortion rings demanding protection from towns in northern Israel which have led to arrests and the seizure of property of criminals in the north," the police said in a statement.

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