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Israel police arrest 14 minors over anti-Arab crimes

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Police have arrested 14 Jewish Israeli youths from Jerusalem on suspicion of carrying out a series of attacks targeting Arab Israelis, a spokesman said on Sunday.

Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that the minors aged between 13 and 16, attended yeshivot -- religious Jewish seminaries.

They were arrested in a series of raids "for attacking Arab Israelis or their property over the last months in Jerusalem", he said.

Rosenfeld said the attacks were believed to be in "revenge for terror attacks on Jewish Israelis", and the police Twitter account alleged that the youths had acted as a gang.

Jewish extremist "price tag" attacks initially targeted Palestinians in retaliation for state moves to dismantle unauthorised settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.

But they later spread to include a broader range of targets with racist and xenophobic overtones, including Christian holy sites, Israeli peace activists and even the army.

Rosenfeld said the arrests were made "over the last few weeks in an undercover operation".

"The majority of incidents relating to them took place in (east) Jerusalem neighbourhoods", and the arrests were made by a special unit formed to combat nationalist-motivated crimes.

Last week the tyres of five cars belonging to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem were punctured, and the "price tag" slogan was scrawled on a nearby wall.

In a separate incident, police caught four young Israelis red-handed as they vandalised Christian tombstones in a Jerusalem cemetery.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131006/israel-police-arrest-14-minors-over-anti-arab-crimes