Thousands protest wave of violence in Israel's Arab sector

JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of Arab citizens of Israel demonstrated Saturday to protest a rising crime wave and what is seen as poor police protection in Israel's Arab community.

The protest in the Arab town of Tamra in northern Israel came in the wake of the death of a 22-year-old passerby who was killed in a shootout between police and criminals after he walked out of his home.

Protesters held white flags stained with blood and raised banners calling for ending the widespread crime. Many accuse police of failing to contain criminal gangs and other violence.

The protest closed a major highway for several hours before the demonstration ended in the late afternoon, police said.

Thousands of people attended the funeral this week of nursing student Ahmad Hejazi, the 22-year-old killed in the shootout in Tamra. Protests took place in other Arab towns this week as well.

At least 11 Arab citizens have been killed this year.