Gaza militants fired a new volley of rockets into Israel on Saturday, clouding Egyptian efforts to broker a renewed truce, after protests over a Palestinian teenager’s murder spread to Arab-Israeli towns.
Israeli police reported clashes in three mainly Arab towns in the northeast and centre late Friday after the east Jerusalem funeral of the teenager, believed to have been abducted and murdered by Jewish extremists.
Around the central town of Qalansuwa, angry Arab protesters stopped traffic, attacking Jewish drivers and torching their cars, public radio reported.
The road to the town, in the Triangle district close to border with the occupied West Bank, remained closed today as sporadic protests continued, police said.
A rocket and a mortar round hit southern Israel from Gaza early on Saturday after militants fired 18 on Friday, the army said.
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Both struck open ground and caused neither casualties nor damage, a spokeswoman said.
The persistent rocket fire came despite Egyptian efforts to broker a renewed truce between Israel and its Islamist foe Hamas in and around Gaza following a flare-up of cross-border violence.
There has been a surge in militant rocket fire and retaliatory Israeli air raids since the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers last month prompted a huge Israeli crackdown on Hamas in the occupied West Bank.
The abduction and killing of Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, is widely believed to have been a revenge attack, although Israeli police insist the motive remains unclear.
The results of a post-mortem were expected later today.
The teenager’s funeral, which was joined by thousands of mourners yesterday, some of whom fired weapons into the air, was accompanied by clashes across Israeli-annexed Arab east Jerusalem.
A total of 62 Palestinians and 13 police were reported injured. Police arrested 20 Palestinians involved.
Disturbances spread to the Arab towns of Taibe in northeastern Israel and Jaljulia and Qalansuwa in the centre, where police said they responded with “riot dipersal methods,” a term usually meaning tear gas and sound bombs.
More a dozen Arab Israelis were arrested, they added.