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Israeli soldiers among suspects arrested for anti-Palestinian racist attacks

There have been a number of racist attacks against Palestinians by Israelis [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 April, 2017

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Israeli police have arrested six people connected to a racist rampage against Palestinians in the city of Beersheba last year, which saw knives, clubs and iron bars used.

Two Israeli soldiers were among six arrested in a police swoop following a racist rampage against Palestinian-Israelis late last year, authorities said on Sunday.

The suspects were arrested for "terrorist" offences and under accused of carrying out attacks on Palestinians and property in the city of Beersheba.

Clubs, knives and iron bars were used in the five attacks in Beersheba, which has a large Palestinian-Israeli population.

Police have been so far quiet about the damage and injuries caused in the rampage but said those who carried out the attacks were motivated by "nationalist and racist" beliefs.

It is believed that the gang's mission was to intimidate the local population following relationships between Israeli women and Palestinian men.

They were influenced by a video from far-right racist group Lehava, which opposes inter-marriage.

In August 2014, Lehava activists staged a rally and shouted "Death to Arabs!" during a wedding between a Muslim man and Jewish woman.

Benzi Gopstein, the leader of the far-right group, has also condoned the torching churches in Israel, in accordance with a mediaeval Jewish commandment to destroy places of idol-worship, and for a ban on Christmas celebrations.

Palestinians make up around one-in-six of Israel's eight million population.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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