Grenade Attack in Galilee May Signal Land Day Violence

A grenade attack Saturday night on a police van in Galilee has police concerned that Land Day this year may be violent.

No one was hurt in the attack, the first of its kind ever in Galilee. But police are concerned that rising tension in heavily Arab Galilee could signal real violence on Land Day, a day of nationalist activities by Israeli Arabs.

Land Day will be commemorated Thursday with a general strike by Israel’s 700,000 Arab citizens in solidarity with the Palestinians in the administered territories.

The day marks the expropriation of land by Israeli authorities 13 years ago that touched off violent confrontations in Galilee.

The grenade attack took place shortly before midnight, on the road leading from Arraba to Sakhnin, two large Arab villages in Galilee.

Police heard a loud explosion and saw a flash. Large numbers of officers began combing the area in search of the attackers, but only on Sunday morning, when the pin of the grenade was spotted, did police realize that it was a hand-grenade attack.

Police were convinced Sunday that this had been a pre-planned ambush, with the attackers waiting for the police van to pass, missing it miraculously.

Galilee Police Cmdr. Ya’acov Ganot on Sunday summoned the mayors of the three Arab villages in the area and urged them to put an end to the escalating nationalist tension.

In other violence, a resident of Bethlehem was stabbed in the back Sunday during the course of an argument at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market.

The victim was working there while an argument developed with one of his employers. The 25-year-old man was given first aid, and then sent to a hospital, where his condition was reported as fair.

A firebomb was thrown Sunday at a shop on Socrates Street in Jaffa. The bottle broke into splinters, but did not explode. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.

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